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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

MEA’s ‘refugee hotel’ looks set for transformation with £21M nursing home plans

Proposed £21million nursing home in Carrickfergus. County Antrim

A planning application has been submitted to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for change of use at the former Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus.


The application to council planners seeks change of use at the former Loughshore Hotel to provide a specialist nursing and residential care facility at the Belfast Road premises.


The hotel building is understood to be used to provide “contingency accommodation” for asylum seekers and refugees.



The application has been made by Healthcare Ireland Group for a 103-bed specialist nursing and residential home with day/dining areas, treatment rooms, storage and staff facilities and will be fully wheelchair accessible.


Proposed £21million nursing home in Carrickfergus. County Antrim

The proposed development is expected to result in the creation of up to 200 full-time jobs, 110 construction jobs and an investment of £21m in the local economy.


The proposed lay-out will include communal open space and bin storage. The existing access from Belfast Road will continue to be used.


A pre-application community consultation report says that a proposal of application notice was submitted to the council  on July 31 and a community consultation event was held in the hotel on September 27 with six attendees.



The statement says: “The feedback from both local residents and local elected representatives has been generally positive towards this project.


“The development team is committed to ongoing consultation during the planning application submission phase. Local listening has not ceased but is being openly encouraged throughout this process.”


The statement also notes: “The development proposals will deliver a number of community and economic benefits.”



Planning permission was recently granted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on lands to the north east and north west of the site to provide an assisted living and retirement housing scheme, a drive-through restaurant and park and ride facility.


The proposed housing scheme will provide 234 houses and 81 apartments and nursing home. The long-stay hotel car park is to be relocated.


A report presented to the council at a meeting recently said that the Home Office and its suppliers have leased 15 hotels in Northern Ireland to provide “contingency” accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees.



In March 2023, according to figures published by the Home Office, there were 3,030 people of 60 nationalities receiving asylum support in Northern Ireland. A total of 152 people were accommodated in Mid and East Antrim in a “contingency hotel” in Carrickfergus.


The Home Office did not wish to comment.

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