Fear that homes next to Barry's could affect its future
Thumbs-up recommended for 21 house units next door
New homes next to Barry's in Portrush have been tipped for planning approval despite fears of the impact on the up-for-sale amusement park, it has emerged.
Planners at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council have recommended that McLaughlin and Harvey's bid for 21 homes on the Castle Erin Road should get the go-ahead at tomorrow's planning committee meeting.
But concerns were raised by objectors that the noise of revellers at the amusement park could become a potential nuisance for dwellers on the site - threatening the future viability of Barry's.
Ulster Unionist councillor Norman Hillis said nothing should hinder Barry's successful operation in the future after it was put on the market earlier this month.
The site of the former Castle Erin Hotel and Conference Centre was bought by McLaughlin & Harvey around eight years ago for around £11m.
The company lodged plans for 12 semi-detached houses, one detached house and eight apartments on the site in 2015.
But objections raised by residents including fears that the eventual occupants would spoil the fun of users of Barry's. One wrote: "There are fears that the prospective occupants would issue proceedings against a very long-established iconic attraction for many visitors to Portrush, namely Barry's. How could this be allowed?
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"Anyone buying on top of an amusement facility must be aware of the existing conditions."
But the report from the council's planners recommended the development should go ahead, adding it was in keeping with the character of the general area.
It said Environmental Health had been consulted about the noise in the area and had been concerned that reports had not adequately taken into account the "highly colourful noise from Barry's Amusements [including] music, screaming and shouting".
However, it was deemed not to be steady or continuous noise - and less of a potential problem as Barry's is a seasonal operation.
And it said that it was also a case of 'buyer beware' as a buyer of a house on the development would be aware that Barry's is operating: "Noise levels generated from Barry's Amusements have not been found incompatible with the proposed development and can therefore co-exist."
Mr Hillis said there had been speculation Barry's would be sold for development. However, in their statement announcing the sale, the Trufelli sisters, who own the business, said they wanted to sell it as a going concern.
Mr Hillis also said it was "vital" that Barry's should be kept for tourism - and he hoped the activity on the Castle Erin site would not affect Barry's: "While I know that something has to be built on that site, I want to make sure it doesn't affect the ongoing viability of the Barry's site and I will do my best to do so."
A spokesman for Grant Thornton, which has been appointed to sell Barry's, reiterated the family is selling as a going concern. Last week, Co Londonderry-based amusements operator Curry's said it hoped to make an offer but yesterday said it was still awaiting information. Cullen Amusements, also based in Derry, is another possible buyer but yesterday said it did not wish to comment.