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Will Coleraine Borough Council capitulate to demand of local developer?

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It is understood that a local developer has claimed ownership of a section of (the recently upgraded) West Bay promenade in Portrush.

In exchange for relinquishing this claim, he has ‘offered’ to exchange this for CBC agreeing to a number of alterations to terms regarding land which he currently leases from CBC, and to be given adjacent public land in exchange with a small ‘consideration’.

These demands include;

(a) Remove a restrictive covenant and extend the lease on a very valuable development sea front site in Portballintrae that CBC owns in order that he can build a hotel on it
(b) To give him full control of access to the beach at Portballintrae.
(c) To give him an acre of public land adjacent to one of his properties and an area of the cliff walk.
(d) To extend a current lease on another portion of land from the current 15 years to 250 years.
(e) For the Council to install an automatic barrier at their expense on Seaport Avenue in order to control access.

This issue has been discussed during a number of ‘behind closed door’ meetings of the Council and a number of our ‘representatives’ are believed to be in favour of supporting this capitulation, some admitting that they had received telephone calls from the developer, prior to the meeting.

We understand that, in a recorded vote, the following Councillors voted in favour of this capitulation were Clr David Harding, Clr William King, Clr William Creelman, Clr George Duddy & Clr David Barbour.

The following Councillors voted against giving in to these demands were Clr Christine Alexander, Clr Maura Hickey, Clr Stephanie Quigley, Clr Roisin Loftus, Clr Barney Fitzpatrick,Clr Yvonne Boyle & Clr Sam Cole.

The remainder of the Councillors abstained, or in effect failed in their duty (as we see it) to protect our public lands and access to our beaches and walks include, Clr Norman Hillis, Clr Mark Fielding, Clr Phyliss Fielding, Clr Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Clr William McCandless, Clr Ciaran Archibald.

We at CCN believe the ramifications of this issue on public access to public property in Portrush & Portballintrae are at risk and that it is in the public interest for the electorate to be aware of what our ‘representatives’ are considering.

We understand that consideration of these issues in contrary to a previous written assurance of prior consultation given by the Chief Executive of the Council to the Portbalintrae residents.

We also believe that such deliberations should be held in open meetings, in an open and transparent manner and not behind closed doors in order that full public confidence be sustained in our Council.

If you have any concerns, we would suggest that you contact your ‘representatives’ prior to the next meeting scheduled for this Monday evening, their contact details are accessible at http://www.colerainebc.gov.uk/show.php?id=290

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