Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland golf club's fears over plans for luxury hotel

By Donna Deeney

The Northern Ireland golf has said it is worried about plans for a luxury hotel that would overlook the course.

Royal Portrush Golf Club has submitted a letter of concern to the Causeway Coast and Glens Council planning department about aspects of the proposals for Dunluce Resort and Spa, including the impact it could have on the famous course.

A planning application was lodged with the council last December for the £60m development which, if successful, will lead to a 115-bedroom hotel over six floors, with restaurants, pool, spa and conference centre.

The application includes provision for 48 apartments, terraces and shops, and if passed could see the project in place to cash in on the Open Championship in 17 months' time.

The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019 will mark a historic return to Northern Ireland for golf's oldest and most international championship after nearly 70 years.

In its letter to the council, the club pointed out that it is one of the leading links golf courses in the world and is a major tourist attraction - something the club said it wants to continue.

The letter added: "As a major landowner in the area, the club also considers that it has a duty to consider the long term preservation and enhancement of the surrounding environment.

"All of the recent development within the club, in anticipation of the Open Championship, has taken place with this consideration as a foremost concern.

"Everything has been undertaken in a way which the club will preserve and enhance the course for the enjoyment of future generations and visitors alike.

"It is for these reasons that the council of the club has considered the planning application for the development of a luxury hotel and apartments on the Dunluce Road overlooking the course.

"The club wishes to express in clear and unequivocal terms that it supports in principle the development of a major hotel of this nature.

"However, after careful reflection it wishes to express a number of concerns about the aspects of the current proposal."

The letter, available to the public on the council's website, goes on to detail the nature of the club's concerns.

The three main areas of concern for the club were around the design of the hotel and its visual impact on the picturesque landscape and prominence overlooking the course's most famous section, the inclusion of 48 apartments and the impact on the environment of storm water damage.

The architect of the project is Ballymoney-based Richard Hunter who was not available for interview when contacted by the Belfast Telegraph.

Previously, Mr Hunter told the Coleraine Chronicle that he was aware of concerns raised by the golf club.

"The letter clearly states the club welcomes the project in principle and we do not think it should be viewed as a letter of objection, but we would acknowledge the club has concerns and that's something we hope we can address," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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