Consultation to end on hotel plans

Consultation to end on hotel plans

PUBLIC consultation on plans for  a new hotel on the outskirts of  Downpatrick ends next month.

Under new planning rules governing major construction projects, developers must consult with the public ahead of a formal application being lodged so people are fully aware of what is proposed.

As part of the process, plans for the new 51-bedroom hotel at the Belfast Road were unveiled during an  information session at the end of June and a number of people who took  part were impressed with the proposed development by Inch Abbey Holdings Limited.

The new 6,400 square metre hotel at the former Abbey Lodge site will feature a range of leisure facilities including a swimming pool and health spa. It will also comprise function rooms and a health spa, 15 metre by seven metre swimming pool, alongside a jacuzzi and sauna. There will also be changing facilities, a gym and fitness rooms.

The new hotel will include a bar, restaurant, reception area and two conference rooms, with the accommodation centred around a landscaped courtyard. The building will be finished in stone and slate, with parking for 182 vehicles, alongside a dedicated parking area for coaches.

Downpatrick councillor, Dermot Curran, has described the provision of new hotels as a “must” given the ongoing drive to increase the number of visitors to the area to boost the local economy.

He said major investment in new hotels creates jobs in the construction industry, provides a boost for local builders’ suppliers and paves the way for a range of new jobs within the hotel industry itself. 

“There has been a very positive reaction to the proposed hotel at the Belfast Road site and I hope that once the pre-planning consultation process is completed a formal planning application will be lodged,” he said.

“Given the fact the public have had a chance to view the proposals and discuss them with the architect and that permission for a previous new hotel at the Belfast Road site was secured in the past, I hope planners will make an early decision on the Inch Abbey Holdings proposal.”

Councillor Curran believes new hotels can act as a catalyst for additional private sector investment, with the redevelopment of the former Abbey Lodge site assisting existing hotel provision in the area, providing the local economy with a boost.

He added: “I hope there will be no major hurdles in securing planning permission for this new hotel to ensure construction work can begin as soon as possible.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; line-height: 8.0px; font: 7.5px 'Nimrod MT'} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: justify; text-indent: 8.5px; line-height: 8.0px; font: 7.5px 'Nimrod MT'} span.s1 {letter-spacing: 0.0px}

“Newry, Mourne and Down Council is working to increase overnight visitor accommodation across the district and proposals of this nature will greatly assist with that. There is a clear need for more bed spaces and the proposed new Downpatrick hotel will help fill that void.”