Plans for £65m hotel on north coast pulled as couple rethink project size
The couple behind a £65m hotel on the north coast have withdrawn their planning application and said they plan to submit new designs for a more modest project.
Minka and Gavin Boyd, of North Coast Ventures Limited, originally planned to open Dunluce Resort and Spa - a 115-room venue with 14 penthouse apartments, three detached villas and a further 48 apartments - ahead of next year's Open golf tournament.
But the couple have withdrawn their application and said they will propose a new set of plans for a £30m luxury hotel.
The location for the new Dunluce Resort and Spa is the same place as before - a 10-acre site between the Ballymacrea Road and Dunluce Road. It overlooks Royal Portrush Golf Club, towards the Giant's Causeway and the hills of Donegal on the Inishowen Peninsula.
Mr Boyd, director of the firm, said: "We have listened to the local community and the feedback we have received during the consultation process. Today's move demonstrates that we understand those concerns and accept that the initial plans outlined weren't appropriate.
"We still firmly believe that the north coast is an area which needs higher-quality accommodation and a greater number of hotel rooms. With this in mind, we intend to submit new plans early in the new year, working alongside a new professional team. Consultations about our new plans will be comprehensive and we intend to learn from our experience over the last number of months."
Mrs Boyd, also director at North Coast Ventures Limited, added: "We know that this area is special for so many people in Northern Ireland. We have always said that it is our intention to be sensitive to the natural landscape and listen to the feedback of the local community. We feel that today's move demonstrates we are doing exactly that. We want to attract more tourists to the north coast by setting a new standard for accommodation. We look forward to revealing more details in 2019 and consulting very closely with the local community from the very start of that process."
When plans were submitted for the original Dunluce Resort last year, they received around 400 hundred objections.
Community group, Future North Coast, was one of the groups to object. Chris Clarke, spokesman at the group, welcomed the news.
He said: "At Future North Coast, we welcome sustainable tourism development to enhance the visitor experience to our north coast. We are pleased at this announcement, acknowledging the importance of sympathetic development on our coastline. This means that our world-renowned Causeway Coastal Route will retain its unique character for future generations of visitors and locals alike."
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year about the objections, Mrs Boyd said: "We know it's near and dear to the heart of people in Northern Ireland. You don't build something this size and not expect an amount of interest and potentially concern."