PORTRUSH Yacht Club gave the resort a much needed boost this week with the announcement of a proposed half-amillion pound extension to its existing harbour-side clubhouse.
Work on the three storey extension is set to begin as early as this Autumn and will provide the seaside town with some of the best yacht club facilities on the island.
News of the proposed development emerged at last week’s meeting of Coleraine Council at which leading Coleraine architects, Montgomery Irwin, unveiled plans and artist’s impressions of the planned project.
The yacht club, which had already been granted planning permission in October of last year, was seeking council approval for a land lease application to permit them to build a suspended extension over the rocks behind the Harbour Master’s Office.
Speaking to the Times: project architect Graeme Montgomery, revealed his client’s plans to build training and storage facilities on the ground floor, a juvenile room for junior members on the first floor as well as a private members’ bar with cantelevered floor and panoramic views across the stunning West Bay.
The scheme will also deliver a new lift, changing and showering facilities for wheelchair users and additional facilities for kids.
“This is very much a good news story for Portrush,” said Mr. Montgomery. “Portrush has been painted in a bad light of late and Portrush Yacht Club is investing £500,000 in facilities that will go some way towards countering that.”
“We expect to be on site by the 1st October this year and phase one will be completed by the beginning of the summer season 2012.” Phase two, the refurbishment and integration of the old bar, will be completed by the end of 2012.
Mr. Montgomery, whose firm designed the new Morelli’s to Go in Portstewart and other high-profile projects, revealed that Council had yet to officially disclose the outcome of their Tuesday night deliberations.
“Council had suspended standing orders to allow us to make a short presentation to them,” he told The Times. “But they went into committee to discuss in private the Property Working Group’s recommendation to reject the application.”
Coleraine Borough Council declined to comment on the matter, however, chairman of the Property Working Group, Cllr David Harding, revealed that councillors plan to visit the proposed site as early as this week to investigate what impact, if any, the extension would have on the area.
Describing his reaction to Montgomery Irwin’s “very professional presentation”, the UUP councillor said he thought the project was “absolutely brilliant” but stressed that a site visit was essential to determine if the extension would impinge on Council’s own plans and site lines.
“Everybody at council is right behind what the Yacht Club are trying to do... but there are great plans for Portrush and we don’t want to say yes to anything on Council land which would come back to bite us in the future,” he said.
STORY: JEFF WHYTE