Historic coastal pub destroyed by fire to be rebuilt into a ‘bar and entertainment complex’ – Armagh I

A popular Co Down pub that was destroyed in a fire earlier this year is set to rise from the ashes as part of a multi-million pound revival aimed at creating one of Northern Ireland’s top entertainment venues .

More than a dozen fire units battled the flames at Anchor Bar, Newcastle.

The premises – a popular stopover for locals and visitors alike – have remained closed since the fire – which was started accidentally – broke out in the early hours of a Friday morning in mid-January.

The anchor has been a mainstay of the town for generations, pulling pints and bringing the jokes for over a century.

The substantially sized property boasted a pool table area, beer garden, public performance space and more at the rear.

This is a huge loss for the seaside town.

But now the local hotel business – on Bryansford Road – looks set to make a welcome return.

And it will do so as part of a mixed-use development.

Proposals have been drawn up on behalf of Anchor Bar Ltd and lodged with Newry, Morne and Down District Council.

If approved, the works will entail the demolition of the premises damaged by the fire.

And in its place would be built a new bar – as well as five apartments.

According to a design and access statement, there are no options other than the building to be demolished.

He says: ‘The fire started in the kitchen and, although it was brought under control without affecting neighboring buildings, the fire and water damage meant it was left structurally unstable.’

The replacement will provide – according to the candidates – one of the best entertainment venues in Northern Ireland.

The statement reveals: “The brief for the site was to design a new bar and entertainment complex that built on some of the historic success of the Anchor Bar but meets the needs of a modern social culture, both internally and externally, in a way that rivals the best Northern Ireland has to offer.

“There is also a desire to return part of the site to historic residential use and to improve the streetscape along this section of Bryansford Road.”

The first floor will include a multifunctional room and a performance space. It will “provide Newcastle with a venue that can accommodate performing artists and house them professionally”.

Traditionally, the area has narrow sidewalks but the new location will be “slightly set back” to make access and exit “suitable for customers”.

To the northwest of the site is a section “designated for residential use”. The “service core” was designed to separate it from the bar to “remove noise issues”.

There would be a total of five apartments – three one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom properties – with a total of eight parking spaces, these also for use and to be shared with bar staff. But there is also a large car park – Donard Park – adjacent to the site.

There would be an “outdoor amenity area” for first floor occupants accessed by common stairs.

A locked bin storage area – and a secure facility for bikes – is also included.

The floor space – if permitted – will nearly double in size, from just over 6,600 square feet to nearly 13,200 square feet.

The proposals will now be announced shortly with a decision expected in due course.

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