Planning permission has been granted for a new tourist accommodation project in the Joymount area of Carrickfergus.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s planning committee approved the applications by Bluebell Developments Ltd for the demolition of the rear return at 15 Joymount Carrickfergus to allow for the conversion and extension of the existing three-storey dwelling at the site to provide six guest rooms together with the replacement of the existing garage with a self-catering apartment.
Planners had recommended approval of the applications subject to relevant conditions and this was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Lindsay Millar, seconded by Councillor Andrew P Wilson, at the committee’s December meeting in Ballymena.
Senior Planner Denise Kerr said that the proposed use would offer short-term tourist accommodation which would bring the vacant building into use.
She said consultees had no objections subject to appropriate attached conditions and there were no third party objections.
Concern was expressed by Cllrs Paul Reid and Billy Henry over their perceived lack of off-street parking.
However, Ms Kerr responded that the proposal was within the town centre and that a number of public car parks were near by the site plus a certain amount of street parking was available.
She also pointed out that Northern Ireland Environment Agency Historic Monuments Unit had highlighted the potential for archaeological remains to be found during construction given the boundary at the rear of the neighbouring Joymount Arms is part of the town walls but that HMU was satisfied that a relevant condition had been attached.
Proposing approval, Cllr Millar pointed out there were two car parks opposite the site, stating: “I don’t think it’s an issue.”
She added: “With tourism being a priority we should be encouraging development like this.”
Seconding her proposal to approve the planners’ recommendation, Cllr Wilson said: “It’s nothing but a positive for the area and tourism.”