Northern Ireland

James Nesbitt's property firm launches £5m bid for new boutique hotel outside Belfast

The Drumvale Hotel site is located close to the Malone Golf Club.
The Drumvale Hotel site is located close to the Malone Golf Club. The Drumvale Hotel site is located close to the Malone Golf Club.

ACTOR James Nesbitt is behind plans for a new £5 million luxury hotel close to Malone Golf Club on the outskirts of Belfast, it can be revealed.

The TV star’s London-based development firm Nesbro Limited has notified Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council of its intention to redevelop a former farm in the Co Down village of Drumbeg.

The proposal for the boutique hospitality venture, which will be known as Drumvale Hotel, centres on an extensive swathe of land along the River Lagan, just across the river from Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

A brasserie restaurant and a health and wellbeing spa are also planned for the site.

The leafy development lands lie within the Lagan Valley Regional Park area, with the Lagan Towpath passing within just yards of the proposed hotel.

Actor James Nesbitt at the 2019 Open in Portrush. The site of his new hotel project sits next to two Belfast golf courses.
Actor James Nesbitt at the 2019 Open in Portrush. The site of his new hotel project sits next to two Belfast golf courses. Actor James Nesbitt at the 2019 Open in Portrush. The site of his new hotel project sits next to two Belfast golf courses.

Both Malone Golf Club and Dunmurry Golf Club are within close proximity.

The proposal of application notice lodged with the council outlines a plan to remove and replace a number of derelict buildings at the former farm and transform the farmland setting into a public space with formal gardens.

The project, which is at an early stage, will shortly embark on a consultation phase, engaging with neighbouring residents and businesses.

More details of the plans are expected to be put into the public domain at the end of August, with a Zoom webinar planned for August 30 and 31.

But a document prepared by planning consultants employed by Mr Nesbitt’s firm, indicates that background work, including preliminary ecological and flood assessments, has been ongoing over the last 12 months.

It states: “The proposal represents a significant capital investment in the local area of approximately £5m.

“There will also be primary employment with new jobs in the hotel and secondary economic benefits via the local supply chain, construction jobs and non-domestic rates.”

The document also states that the easing of Covid-19 restrictions has created an upsurge in demand for tourist breaks.

“Most people have been either unable or unwilling to travel aboard and instead have opted for a ‘staycation’. This has resulted in a significant increase in the domestic tourist market in Northern Ireland and has highlighted a lack of quality accommodation.”

Nesbro Limited’s planning application is the first lodged in the north by the property firm for three years.

Mr Nesbitt’s company previously ran into planning difficulties over a luxury home in Portrush.

Nesbro successfully appealed a decision by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to refuse planning application for the development.

But the actor’s company was criticised by the Planning Appeals Commission for failing to amend its plans until the last minute.