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Invest NI urged to help fund new seaside hotel

The chairman of Moyle Council has called on Invest NI to support a new £12m hotel in a north coast town.

Ballycastle has been without a hotel since the Marine Hotel - owned by Mervyn McAlister from the town - closed down at the end of 2010.

Ballycastle builders D and T McHenry have now said they want to go ahead with a hotel for which they were granted planning permission in 2009.

A new investment company, Diamond Investments, has given financial backing to the four-star venue, which is proposed for Whitepark Road outside the town. Planning permission has been granted for a 100-bedroom hotel but Diamond Investments is lodging a further application to increase the development to 120 rooms.

Independent councillor Paudie McShane, the chairman of Moyle Council, called on Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and economic development agency Invest NI to give the hotel their support.

"I am confident that this project can be delivered but it will rely on securing support from Invest NI for which an application has recently been submitted.

"The developers are also keen to secure support from the council. The development fits council's active campaign for quality hotel provision in Ballycastle and Moyle.

"The total project costs are in the region of £10m to £12m. The significant investment will lead to the creation of 50 construction jobs for a year along with 70 full-time and 35 part-time jobs in the service sector.

"Moyle have consistently attempted to create a tourist infrastructure that would be in keeping with the natural tourist product of the district."

The north coast is anticipating a tourist boost from the decision to hold the Irish Open at Royal Portrush this year - though the proposed new hotel will not be built in time.

Nor will it include a new golf course, though the owners are expected to build a connection with the golf club in Ballycastle.

"The tourism potential of our development will not only create local employment but act as an economic stimulus for the wider area," Liam Ward, managing director of Diamond Investments Ltd said. "With major attractions such as The Giant's Causeway, the Glens of Antrim and Rathlin Island, our proposal will attract overseas tourists to sample the unique wonders that Ballycastle has to offer."