Health centre dropped from redrafted retirement village proposal for Carrickfergus

An artist's impression of Kilmona's redrafted retirement village plan for Carrickfergus.
Ryan McAleer

A DEVELOPER behind plans for a major retirement village in Carrickfergus has significantly redrawn the proposal, dropping plans for a medical centre on the site.

Patrick Kearney’s Kilmona Group secured planning permission two years ago for what was then a £45 million development at the former Courtaulds factory site in the town.

Despite planning officials recommending that the original bid be rejected, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s planning committee voted to go against the advice and approve the 321 residential units for the over 55s in 2019.

But two years on, the developer is re-entering the planning process with major changes, cutting the total budget for the scheme to £35m.

A proposed medical centre with 40 assisted living units is no longer part of the proposal.

But the developer will seek planning permission for a drive-thru restaurant on the massive site, which replaces space previously left for retail units. No vendor has been named in the latest bid.

A larger nursing home is also proposed, increasing from 94 units to 125.

The development also appears to reflect the growing demand for housing over apartments, with the number of flats cut from 138 to 81, while housing has been expanded from 183 to 234 units.

The redrafted bid states that up to 575 residents could potentially live on the site.

A spa and swimming pool facility remains part of the proposal, with a bowling green also included.

The site was formerly used as a large fibre factory which closed in 1981.

Part of the location has been used as an industrial estate, with other businesses operating from the site through the years.

Another change in the latest proposal would see a former building used by Michelin retained. But a leisure business, located behind the Loughshore Hotel, would be cleared to make way for housing.

The hotel is owned by Patrick Kearney’s Loughview Leisure Group, which also owns the Ten Square Hotel in Belfast.

Kilmona has now launched an online public consultation exercise ahead of submitting a full planning application later in the year.

But part of the overall retirement scheme is now being pursued in a separate planning application.

On Thursday, an application from Kilmona to build 48 social housing apartments on the site was passed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s planning committee.

While the application was made by the developer, the meeting heard that the Clanmill Housing Group will carry out the construction.

The apartments will be built in two 2.5 storey blocks, comprised of 21 two-bed and three one-bed properties in each block.

They will retain their status as dedicated housing for the over 55s.

Details of the redrafted retirement village proposal can be viewed online at with a public event taking place via zoom between 6pm and 7pm on Thursday April 15.

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