Plans for 51-bedroom Downpatrick hotel at ex-Abbey Lodge site

Plans for 51-bedroom Downpatrick hotel at ex-Abbey Lodge site

17 May 2017

DOWNPATRICK is in line for a new hotel.

The Recorder can reveal that ambitious plans are being drawn up to redevelop the former Abbey Lodge site at the Belfast Road to provide a new 51-bedroom hotel which would feature a range of leisure facilities including a swimming pool and health spa.

The proposed development is being spearheaded by Inch Abbey Holdings Limited and in addition to plans for major hotel investment at the Belfast Road site, it has also been revealed that the owners of Ballydugan Mill and Denvir’s Coaching Inn in Downpatrick are keen to increase the number of bedrooms they currently provide.

But it’s the plan to redevelop the former Abbey Lodge Hotel site which will generate significant interest in the area, providing additional overnight accommodation to help boost visitor numbers and new leisure facilities.

Eight years ago, a property developer came close to investing in a new 80-bedroom hotel at the Belfast Road site but the proposal fell through due to the adverse economic circumstances at the town. 

The site was sold several years ago to a local businessman, but it has now emerged that “advanced plans” are in place for a new 51-bedroom hotel at this location, with a formal planning application expected to be lodged within days.

The new 6,400 square metre development will comprise function rooms and a health spa which will include a 15 metre by seven metre swimming pool, alongside a jacuzzi and sauna. There will also be changing facilities, a gym and fitness rooms.

The new hotel will include a bar, restaurant, reception area and two conference rooms, with the accommodation centred around a landscaped courtyard. The building will be finished in stone and slate, with parking for 182 vehicles, alongside a dedicated parking area for coaches.

Downpatrick councillor, Dermot Curran, described the provision of new hotels as a “must” given the drive to increase the number of visitors to the area to boost the local economy.

He said new hotel developments create jobs in the construction industry, provide a boost for local builders’ suppliers and pave the way for a range of new jobs within the hotel itself. He said new hotel provision can also act as a catalyst for additional private sector investment.

“Downpatrick is lacking in overnight accommodation and conference facilities in particular,” he said. “The redevelopment of the former Abbey Lodge site would also complement existing hotel provision in the area and provide the town with a significant economic boost.

“I have always believed Downpatrick should have a new hotel to complement existing provision and encourage more visitors to stay in the area, boosting our tourism economy. I welcome the proposed investment at the Belfast Road site and hope other plans for new hotel provision will also be successful.”

Councillor Curran added: “Increasingly, tourism will become the district’s key strength and we need to provide more overnight accommodation through new hotel provision.”