Soft play centre at Belfast Road ‘could bring 40 new jobs’

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Plans to build a new soft play centre at a former storage warehouse in Carrickfergus have been given the green light by councillors.

The application for the facility was brought before a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Council’s Planning Committee last Thursday.

Principal planner Gary McGuinness outlined the proposed change of use at the former Redhead International unit off the Belfast Road.

This would involve alterations and an extension to the original building.

The finished centre will include an area for indoor glow golf, a toddler area, and restaurant.

There were no objections to the project from statutory consultees, including NIEA and Transport NI, while the council’s Environmental Health department had no objection following submission of a risk assessment, Mr McGuinness added.

The development is being taken forward by Castleview Mews, a hotel company based at 75 Belfast Road.

The proposed site for the centre is situated directly behind Belfast Loughshore Hotel.

Commenting on the project was East Antrim MLA David Hilditch, whose letter of support to planners highlighted the potential for job creation at the centre.

“After meeting with those that have proposed the project, they have informed me it will provide something in the region of 30-40 full and part time jobs,” Mr Hilditch said.

“It’s a substantive project and will interconnect with the hotel, which in itself has seen some great developments in the past few months.

“It will draw more people into Carrickfergus and hopefully attract the eye of those looking for short breaks; this could have a knock-on effect for the rest of the town.”

The centre will also provide a much needed ‘all-weather’ entertainment venue for families with small children, Mr Hilditch said.

It is hoped that construction on the project will begin in the springtime.

Councillors unanimously agreed, on a vote of 11-0, the planners’ recommendation to approve the application subject to conditions.

This was proposed by Councillor Paul Reid and seconded by Councillor Lindsay Millar.

“This would be a great addition to the local area,” Cllr Millar said.