An invitation to visit but no essential facilities provided
Boxing Day visitors braving the elements
No one at home
Hospitality at McConaghy's Souvenir Shop on Boxing Day 2017
Tommy McConaghy - proprietor
The McConaghy and other local families have traded at the Causeway for generations but this appears to be reaching an end as I understand that the National Trust has refused to renew the lease. Instead the Trust has applied for a change of use for the two shop units to toilets and this has been granted by the Council Planning Service in Coleraine.
Snippets from the Planning Report
Neighbours: There are 23 objections to this proposal.
The objections raised matters of concern in relation to:
The loss of a shop which provides an important amenity to the local community.
Loss of focal point for the local community.
Concern is also expressed at the management of the site by the National Trust and their motivation for the application.
8.11 There have been 23 letters of objection to the proposed change of use. Concern centres on the loss of a local amenity which serves as a focal point for the local community.
8.12 There is no provision under current planning policy which would establish a presumption against the loss of rural shops. It would be unreasonable for the Planning Authority to insist on the retention of the shop. As such their intention to terminate the lease afforded to the shop is not a significant material consideration of the planning process. As outlined above the proposed change of use would not detract from the character and is in accordance with planning policy and the issues raised in the objections could not be upheld.
The removal of the last local trader isn't just the loss of a local amenity; it detracts from the character of the Causeway experience and so should have been a material consideration, not just for planning officials but also for elected representatives at local and regional level.
Today Tommy wasn't just providing warm drinks and mementos; he was also responding to numerous complaints about the absence of toilet facilities.
Added December 27
No relief - even at the the three small poorly signed free toilets
Would it not be possible to provide extra toilet capacity here?