Templeton Hotel staff offered redundancy as closure for refurbishment looms
Staff at the Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick have been offered voluntary redundancy as part of major redevelopment plans, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The Galgorm Collection hospitality group, which announced its plan to buy the business in February, confirmed it is to close the hotel "intermittently" during an expansion programme.
It is offering the 40-odd employees the choice of redeployment to the Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort outside Ballymena while the work is carried out or voluntary redundancy.
A spokesman for the group said there are no compulsory job losses and it is legally obliged to offer staff voluntary redundancy under such circumstances.
He said the aim of the £7m project is to 'grow' the staff numbers at the Templeton Hotel from 40 to between 75 and 100.
UUP councillor Paul Michael said the hotel is a long-established business "right in the heart of the community" and that any sort of closure would be "worrying".
"I do know there were black tie events that had been booked, which the organisers were assured would go ahead and they did go ahead," he said.
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Michael Williamson, a director at ASM Accountants and a specialist in the sector, said that if the scale of works was significant and the hotel is likely to be closed for a period then it "would not be unusual" for voluntary redundancies to be considered.
"I have no doubt that the group will make a significant improvement to the Templeton Hotel which is bound to assure its future growth and sustainability," he added.
The hotel, which had been run by the McCombe family since it was built in 1990, has 24 en-suite bedrooms and caters for weddings and a wide range of events.
Announcing the purchase in February, Colin Johnston, managing director of the Galgorm Collection, said the move showed the company's commitment to the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.
"Our multi-million-pound investment in Templepatrick will strengthen the local community and economy, as well as cement Northern Ireland's reputation as a world-class tourism destination," he said.
"The Galgorm Collection is an extensive investor in Northern Ireland and our latest exciting venture in Templepatrick will bring our current employee count to just short of 1,000 people, reaffirming our commitment to the people of Northern Ireland. Over 50 jobs will be created and all current staff will be retained."
The group's flagship hotel is the Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort. Other properties include pizza venue Fratelli Belfast and Café Parisien, a French brasserie-style restaurant on Donegall Square.
And in another major investment last year, the group opened the Castle Kitchen & Bar at Galgorm Castle Golf Club just outside Ballymena.
Galgorm Collection, formerly known as Tullymore House, weighed in at number 67 in the Belfast Telegraph's Top 100 Northern Ireland Companies.