Carrickfergus hotel’s asylum accommodation role to end ‘paving way’ for £21m care home plan

Carrick’s Loughshore Hotel is to cease being used as asylum accommodation from early this summer.
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East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson says he has been informed by the UK Government the Belfast Road premises will no longer be required to house asylum seekers and refugees.

In a statement, the DUP representative said: “I recently received confirmation from the Minister for Legal Migration and the Border that the Loughshore Hotel will no longer be used as asylum accommodation from the end of June 2024.

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“This will pave the way for the hotel, which recently received planning permission, to become a residential home."

Loughshore Hotel, Carrickfergus. Pic: Google MapsLoughshore Hotel, Carrickfergus. Pic: Google Maps
Loughshore Hotel, Carrickfergus. Pic: Google Maps

A report presented to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council earlier this year said the Home Office and its suppliers had 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.

Under change of use plans approved by the local government authority last month, the Loughshore Hotel is to be repurposed as a care facility with the creation of 150 full and part-time jobs.

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The £21m Healthcare Ireland Group project will involve "mainly internal works" to create 111 bedrooms for nursing and residential care, alterations to windows and additional landscaping to "soften" the appearance of the building.

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Planning agent Tom Stokes told councillors the applicant, Healthcare Ireland, was "the fastest growing healthcare company in the north". It owns and manages 25 nursing homes which employ 2,300 people. Planning permission was granted after councillors voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

Mr Wilson added: “I am particularly pleased by this development as it will fit into the range of accommodation which was promised in the application for a retirement village on the old Courtaulds site.

"Having worked with the owner of the Loughshore and this site for over 15 years, I am delighted to see the vision that was promised coming to fruition.”