Businessman Irwin Armstrong hits out at proposals for Ballymena hotel
A high-profile businessman is objecting to plans for a new hotel near his home in Co Antrim on the basis of potential noise and traffic issues, Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
Irwin Armstrong, who owns medical testing company Ciga Healthcare, has filed an objection to the proposal from Chic Ltd.
The hotel would be located on Crankill Road, Ballymena, near an Applegreen service station and close to Mr Armstrong's family home of 34 years. Chic Ltd is also the landlord of the Applegreen service station, which was built on the site of the former Fort Royal Inn and nightclub.
In a letter to planning officers, Mr Armstrong said he was concerned at the lack of an exit lane onto the dual carriageway when leaving the Applegreen. It's understood the new hotel would use the same access route.
Mr Armstrong said he had already made representations to the Department for Infrastructure and the PSNI about "accidents and near misses" when leaving the Applegreen.
He said he had proposed a speed limit of 40mph but was told that "PSNI said it would need a government back to introduce such a speed limit".
"I can only say that an increase in traffic in the site will make the situation worse and that some kind of traffic calming or proper exit lanes must be introduced as a condition of any planning consent to reduce the already very serious problem."
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He said he was also concerned about noise from the hotel, which will have a restaurant/function room, as well as a bar.
"I have lived at this address for 34 years and for many of them had to accept the excess noise caused by the Fort Royal night club.... This proposed new development is much, much closer and I have little faith in the sketchy report on noise.
"We all know the high level of sound caused by musical groups at functions and a much more detailed report requires to be done comparing it to a similar location with the same level of sound insulation at distances equivalent to my residence."
He added: "It is unacceptable to be disturbed by events running up to two or three o'clock in the morning."
Plans by Chic Ltd estimate there would be around 210 people attending the hotel on a daily basis, excluding staff.
Chic Ltd, which has a registered office in Kilrea, also estimates there would be a total of 96 vehicles visiting the premises on a daily basis, including 20 owned by staff.
A consultation into the proposals continues until Thursday.
The new hotel would join several others in Ballymena including the Adair Arms Hotel, Tullyglass House Hotel and Leighinmohr House Hotel.