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Planning go-ahead for hotel extension

By Heather McGarrigle

Planning permission has been granted for a £2m extension to Lisburn's first hotel, which will create 20 new jobs in the city.

Planners gave the go-ahead last week for the expansion, which will add 30 bedrooms to Premier Inn Lisburn.

Work is set to commence next month and the developers said they hope to have it finished by December.

Magherafelt construction firm Conway Group invested £10m in the construction of the hotel in September 2009, which is operated by Premier Inn parent company, Whitbread plc.

The Lisburn hotel brought 60 new jobs to the city when it originally opened, with this development creating 20 new posts.

The project will also create 20 construction jobs, which has been welcomed by the Construction Employers' Federation in Northern Ireland (CEF).

John Armstrong, managing director of the CEF, said: "There have been 26,000 jobs lost in the industry over the past four years, so this is a small but welcome piece of news."

Brian Heading, the new SDLP Mayor of Lisburn described the expansion as "further evidence of the growth of Lisburn".

He said: "The new extension will help to boost the local economy and increase our visitor numbers."

Trevor Simpson of Conway Group said: "We are delighted that planning permission has come through and we can get to work.

"We expect to have the extension finished by Christmas. We are very pleased to have had the consistent support of Lisburn City Council for the project.

"It is great news for Lisburn, creating new jobs and encouraging more visitors."

Andy Orr, manager of Premier Inn Lisburn, said the hotel had welcomed 55,000 visitors in its first two years.

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