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Five-star log cabins for Gosford; hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs – borough’s big bid to bring more visitors

A unique ‘glamping’ experience will have the crowds flocking to Gosford Forest Park – with plans for five-star log cabin accommodation on site.

Country house style accommodation could also be provided at the Manor House in Loughgall.

Meanwhile, a conference hotel at Craigavon, budget accommodation near Banbridge and a luxury boutique style hotel in Armagh, have all been suggested in a bid to get people not just to visit the borough, but to stay overnight.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has been considering the needs of the area to cope with visitor demand over the coming years.

And, of course, they recognise that very often visitors want something ‘that little bit different’.

To that end, niche accommodation and different types of facility have been identified as necessary to help build and sustain the local industry over the years ahead.

The council has this week been considering the recommendations in the latest tourism strategy and action plan for the period 2017-2022.

It has been pinpointing the need to actively pursue “appropriate accommodation development opportunities with the private sector”.

Of all 11 council areas in Northern Ireland, the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon area has one of the lowest in terms fo available visitor accommodation.

And, if this is not addressed, councillors have been told it will have a “serious impact” on the area’s “ability to grow and become a real driver of the economy”.

The report identifies the need for a minimum four star boutique hotel accommodation in Armagh City to be “based in buildings of historic significance” – such as the Gaol or Palace – as well as the provision of licensed guest inn accommodation in Armagh City and the surrounding rural orchard hinterlands, high quality B&B and guesthouse accommodation in Armagh city – again in buildings of heritage merit – budget hotel accommodation near Banbridge, on the “main A1 economic corridor between Dublin and Belfast”, and a conference hotel at Craigavon, to “support the needs of the global companies located here”.

The report adds: “Plans for the provision of accommodation at Brownlow House will also be supported.

“Proposals are also being developed for Gosford Forest Park which make provision for five star log cabin accommodation as part of a wider redevelopment and update at the Park, while consideration will be given to country house style accommodation at the Manor House at Loughgall, should this become available as part of the Loughall Country Park masterplan proposals.

“Beyond these identified visitor accommodation needs the council will work in conjunction with developers of other schemes, particularly where such schemes reflect the needs of international travellers and add to the stock of higher end, unique accommodation.

“In order to facilitate this growth a development prospectus to include a folio of suitable sites will be formulated and updated regularly. This will be coupled with active targeting of prospective developers.”

It has also been recommended that consideration should also be given to the council buying suitable properties as they come on the market with a view to heir future use as visitor accommodation.


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