Larne youth hostel plans scrapped

Derrin Guest House owners Siebe Wynberg and Ivy Chalmers have welcomed Triangle's decision to withdraw its planning application for a supported living facility on Prince's Gardens.
Derrin Guest House owners Siebe Wynberg and Ivy Chalmers have welcomed Triangle's decision to withdraw its planning application for a supported living facility on Prince's Gardens.
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Controversial plans to create a supported living facility in a quiet residential street in Larne have been scrapped following a public backlash.

Developer Triangle Housing Association wanted to transform the former children’s home at 4 Prince’s Gardens – owned by the Northern Trust – into apartments catering for 16 to 21-year-olds who have left care.

The proposal ignited a barrage of objections from local residents, who were adamant Prince’s Gardens was the wrong location for such a facility and claimed the development would lead to a raft of problems, including a sharp rise in anti-social behaviour in the area.

With support from local elected representatives, residents launched a concerted campaign to block the plans.

The Planning Service had been minded to approve the application, but Triangle has confirmed that it has now withdrawn its plans for the site.

When asked to provide a reason for its decision, a spokeswoman said the company did not wish to comment any further.

The Times understands the property has since to sold to another party.

Among those who voiced their concerns over the plans were Ivy Chalmers and her husband Siebe Wynberg, who have operated Derrin Guest House adjacent to the proposed site for more than ten years.

The couple feared that if that if Triangle’s plans had come to fruition, it could have driven them out of business.

Ivy explained that her business is listed on the travel website Trip Advisor, which allows people to rate their stay at participating hostelries for other potential guests to view.

She added: “The majority of reviews we receive online are usually very positive, but that would be unlikely to continue if the street is plagued by noisy youths and anti-social behaviour.”

Now that Triangle’s plans have been dropped, Ivy and Siebe intend to continue investing in their business and have already begun carrying out improvements to their premises.

Ivy added: “I am over the moon that these plans have been abandoned.

“I want to pay tribute to local politicians who supported our campaign, and I believe we could not have succeeded without them.”