BALLYCASTLE SDLP councillor Dónal Cunningham has said that delays by the administrator of the Marine Hotel in getting the property “ready for sale” are frustrating the local economy and stifling the promotion of tourism.
Said the councillor: “The Marine Hotel was closed in December 2010 and placed into administration later. Surely within that time the bank and administrators should have been in a position to progress all the required procedures and documentation in order to bring the property to a position where it is “ready for sale”.
“We should not have a situation where the work of the council and other agencies to promote tourism is ‘sterilised’ because of the lack of progress by the Hotel’s administrators. How do we market Ballycastle as a place to visit and stay when we are without the facility to accommodate our potential visitors?
“Tourism is key to the Ballycastle economy and we cannot afford to be without the full time and part time jobs which the Hotel facility provides.
“On top of that the loss of the Hotel’s leisure facilities and in particular it’s swimming pool has deprived the community of a much needed resource. Many people used the leisure facilities on a daily basis and have commented to me on the noticeable effect the closure has had on their health and wellbeing.”
Councillor Cunningham has asked Moyle Council to apply whatever pressure it can to progress the issue.
He added: “The Hotel’s administrators need to act in the interests of the local community - we should not be prepared to tolerate any further delays.”
It is understood potential buyers have been eyeing the Marine but those watching developments feel things are being held up by ‘red tape’.
Speculation is that the hotel could be bought for much less than previously sold although it is anticipated that a substantial sum would be needed to renovate the premises.