Skip to main content

To: Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

Save the Atlantic Bar and Lounge in Portrush

In the past the proposal of a 3-5 storey hotel on the site of the current Atlantic Lounge and Bar site received 127 objections from the public and only 18 notifications of support.

Portrush has a rich history of music and bands, the Atlantic Bar and Lounge is a popular venue for locals and tourists. Culture and the arts should be promoted and encouraged. The council should consider the long term future of the Portrush community, instead of accepting all tourism development.

Why is this important?

Following permission being granted by John O’ Dowd Infrastructure Minister (SF) the proposal will return to the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council for consideration on the 23rd November at 10.30am

In the past the proposal of a 3-5 storey hotel on the site of the current Atlantic Lounge and Bar site received 127 objections from the public and only 18 notifications of support.

Portrush has a rich history of music and bands, the Atlantic Bar and Lounge is a popular venue for locals and tourists. Culture and the arts should be promoted and encouraged. The council should the consider long term future of the Portrush community, instead of accepting all tourism development.

Some of the reasons that the proposal was rejected:

Appearance
The Hotel frontage and Atlantic sidebar windows have so much character and add so much to Portrush that a 3-5 storey hotel will not provide. The building is currently listed but even introducing a taller building that looks similar in its place will remove that character from the main street and the Historic Environment Division objected to this proposal.
The heights and scale, massing and elevational treatment and roof profile of the proposal bears no relation to the adjacent and surrounding buildings and streetscape nor the townscape character of Portrush A 5-storey development is out of scale in relation to the 2 storey residential properties on Atlantic Avenue and the 2 storey residential properties and garages on the junction of Atlantic Avenue/Mark Street Lane. Historic Buildings. It is out of scale and overbearing towards the adjoining 2.5 storey Listed Building of the Whitehouse department store, the Listed Buildings of Holy Trinity Parish Church & hall and the Northern Bank building.

Parking
No provision for parking for guests or staff. There is no space for an additional 130 car parking spaces. The Car Parking Statement submitted alongside the application highlights that 151no. Parking spaces would be the maximum requirement for hotel development of this size when fully occupied. The proposal has not demonstrated how it will promote the use of alternative modes of transport beyond the private car and also makes reference to the use of on-street parking on Kerr Street, Mark Street and Main Street which already operate at capacity during peak times of the year when the hotel is likely to be fully occupied. There is no vehicular access, accessible parking and/or drop-off, general drop-off or goods delivery within the curtilage of the application site. The current proposals do not address where hotel guests arriving by taxi etc. will be dropped off without impeding the flow of traffic on Main Street or blocking traffic completely on Atlantic Avenue.

Logistics wise the current proposal allows for deliveries to be made via a door opening onto Mark Street Lane which is not a public highway and current owners/occupiers of properties on Mark Street and Main Street have a right of way along it to access their properties, garages, car parking etc. The proposed application outlines that the average number of goods vehicles attending the premises will increase from 1 to 5 deliveries a day. As Mark Street Lane is a narrow, single-lane carriageway deliveries will not be possible without blocking access to the lane completely.

The provision of amenities such as goods in and bin stores would be on Mark Street Lane which is narrow and continuously in use giving access to apartments and businesses, frequent deliveries and the presence of large bin storage will increase noise and odour in the area. There are other sites more suitable for building a hotel and it would be better to use a derelict site, such as the old Eglinton Hotel site, or the vacant properties near the Lansdowne.

The existing building should be retained and utilised and the current business is still open and providing services for the local community and those who visit Portrush. The proposed 30+ new jobs would not outweigh the number of jobs lost at the current premises: bar staff, door staff, management staff, DJ’s, musicians etc. The Atlantic Bar and Lounge has provided a space for musicians and performers alike, particularly young people interested in music who often play their first gigs there. The Atlantic also provides a venue for The Atlantic Sessions which is an annual event on the North Coast, attracting attendees from across the island, as well as they provide a space for charities to hold fundraising events.

This is one of the only music venues in the area, its loss would mean that locals will have to travel to Belfast or L’Derry to find similar events which isn’t an attractive option due to many trains and buses ending their service after 11pm. Moreover, this would force many of the creative talents to move out of Portrush towards the cities. The Atlantic Bar and Lounge is a unique venue which welcomes all members of the community as it promotes equality and diversity and it is one of the only bars on the north coast to welcome drag performances. It is paramount to the social cohesion of Portrush.

The suggestion that this proposal will bring growth to the community is questionable.
Andras are currency hiring for housekeeping team members at £10 an hour in Ibis City Centre Belfast. The average rent in Portrush is £700 - if there is rental accommodation available. What is the likelihood of 30+ jobs in Portrush and where will these people live if we don’t have affordable housing? Hotels in the area already struggle in the winter with some even closing during the week. Recently the Premier Inn in Coleraine and the York in Portstewart have announced closures and hospitality is not attractive as even the British Government’s figures have found that 83% of hospitality businesses report difficulties with recruitment.

Portrush, UK

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Updates

2022-11-07 17:34:11 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2022-11-07 13:02:34 +0000

500 signatures reached

2022-11-07 10:40:51 +0000

100 signatures reached

2022-11-07 10:18:00 +0000

50 signatures reached

2022-11-07 09:58:24 +0000

25 signatures reached

2022-11-07 09:40:20 +0000

10 signatures reached