Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena in line for new 65-room hotel as plan submitted to council

By Mark McConville

A new 65-room hotel, creating 30 jobs, could be set to open in Ballymena after a planning application was submitted.

The proposed hotel would be located on Crankill Road, Ballymena, near an Applegreen service station, with a total floor area of 4,146m2.

The application also requests planning permission for a reception lobby and restaurant/function room.

The hotel would also feature a bar, food preparation kitchen, staff accommodation, office space, ancillary accommodation and associated car parking and landscaping.

Lorries currently use part of the one-hectare site for parking while the rest is listed as a green field site. Plans 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, has submitted the application. The company lets and operates real estate. The company also estimates there would be a total of 96 vehicles visiting the premises on a daily basis, including 20 owned by staff.

A noise impact assessment submitted with the application concluded that the noise impact from the proposed facilities could be "controlled to fall below existing background noise levels near the site and thus minimal noise impact will occur".

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The new hotel would join several others in Ballymena including the Adair Arms Hotel, Tullyglass House Hotel and Leighinmohr House Hotel.

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort is the largest in the area and a one-night stay at the four-star hotel costs an average of £160. A recent report found that more than £1bn has been invested in the Northern Ireland hotel market in the last 20 years, with the number of bedrooms doubling in that time. And over the last two decades, the number of four-star hotel rooms has more than tripled, with the upper end of the market now dominating the sector, the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation said.

There are now 145 hotels here and in the last three years room numbers have increased by 1,900 to 9,548 rooms, with the majority of the new rooms in Belfast.

Howard Hastings, managing director at Hastings Hotels, recently spoke about how the hotel scene has changed here in the last 20 years.

"Northern Ireland was a very different place 20 years ago and it was the ceasefires in 1994 that began to change things. Nobody wanted to be in the city centre as that was where the bombs went off. The hotels on the outskirts were more successful," he said.

"The ceasefires arrived and we had to think about what would attract people to Northern Ireland and make them think differently about it."

Belfast Telegraph