Petition launched to save ‘our own wee Disney world’ scores almost 5,000 signatures - and numbers are growing

An online petition to save Barry’s amusements in Portrush has hit almost 5,000 signatures.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 10:34 am

The petition was started online by Judith Parks last Friday.

When asked for her reasons she said: “I started the petition on Friday after hearing the sad news Barrys is up for sale & could be knocked down & turned into apartments houses or a hotel.

“At nearly 100 years old Barry’s is part of our history, so many people here have great memories of days out at Barry’s & it would be such a shame to see it knocked down.

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The picturesque site of Barry's

“When you think of Portrush you think of Barrys.

“Portrush has enough apartment blocks, it needs places like Barry’s to attract visitors, with a bit of revamp it could create more jobs & help the local economy.

“I think it has so much potential it is unique in NI in the beautiful seaside town of Portrush & it would be a sad day for so many people here to see it knocked down”.

She added that after starting the petition “the amount of signatures already... just shows how much it means to so many people. I’ve had comments from people living in Canada, Australia, England & Wales & they all want to see Barry’s saved. A national treasure!!”.

Last Friday First Minister Arlene Foster retweeted the petition thus extending news about the appeal to save the site.

The ‘#SaveBarry’s’ petition has already garnered almost 5,000 signatures according to their Facebook page site.

The petition says: “Barry’s Amusements in Portrush is up for sale.

The familiar frontage of Barry’s Amusements.

“It is the oldest amusement park in Ireland opening in 1926 and the main one in Northern Ireland.

“It’s been a place of fun and laughter created many happy memories for people far and wide.

“From rides on the ghost train, big dipper and bumper cars we have all got childhood memories of trips to Barry’s and we want it continue to do so for many years to come.

“Our own wee Disney World!

A section of the famous ‘Big Dipper’ rollercoaster at Barry’s in Portrush.

“Children have missed out on so much fun due to the Pandemic and deserve to experience the happy times in Barry’s Portrush that we all have.

“Please don’t let it be changed into a hotel or housing accommodation.

“Portrush just wouldn’t be the same without Barry’s!!

“Please sign our petition to keep Barry’s an amusement park and not another accommodation development.”

A statement released on behalf of the Trufelli family, owners of Barry’s Amusements, Portrush on March 7 said: “Since October 2019, the Trufelli family has sought to sell Barry’s Amusements as a going concern.

This has been an intensive process which has been hindered by the Covid pandemic and the resulting economic conditions.

As we return to a more favourable economic environment, our intention is to re-market the business for sale.

Whilst our hope is that we will be able to sell the business as a going concern, we recognise that it may not be possible to find a suitable purchaser.

As a result, we have appointed Savills and Philip Tweedie & Company to market the site as both a going concern and a development opportunity.

Barry’s continues to remain closed in line with Covid restrictions and will not re-open until the sale process has concluded.

There will be no further comment from the Trufelli family.”

Four days ago the site of Barry’s Amusements in Portrush went on the market for £2,750,000 - it is billed as a ‘2.23-acre site’ which ‘has potential for the development of hotel or residential accommodation’.

It adds that it also offers ‘an opportunity to purchase as a going concern’.

‘The sale is being handled by joint agents, Savills and Philip Tweedie & Company, on behalf of Barry’s Amusements and is being marketed as a development opportunity but equally would not disregard the potential purchase as a going concern,’ says the statement.

‘A feasibility study undertaken by Savills has revealed that the site could be developed for several uses, including a 120-bed hotel, 23 residential dwellings or a combination of both, in addition to leisure and recreational facilities.

Barry’s Amusements first opened at 16 Eglinton St. in 1926 and has remained one of the most popular family attractions for visitors to the area.

‘Portrush – one of the most famous resort towns on the island of Ireland – is located in the beautiful and scenic north coast, just 60 miles north of Belfast, 50 miles east of Derry/Londonderry, and 160 miles north of Dublin.

‘The town is home to the world famous Royal Portrush Golf Club – host of the 148th Open Championship which attracted 190,000 visitors to the seaside town and continues to attract golfers from around the world. With an abundance of shops, restaurants, pubs and arcades, Portrush is not just a popular location for golfers, it also provides an ideal base for exploring the Causeway Coast & Glens and in particular, the Giant’s Causeway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Portrush is probably best known for its amazing beaches – East Strand, West Bay – which the site fronts onto – and White Rocks, with both having been awarded Blue Flag status in recognition of their water quality and facilities’

Neal Morrison, Director, Savills Ireland said: “Portrush is one of the most stunning seaside locations in Ireland and the opportunity to acquire a site that fronts onto the beautiful West Strand beach is truly rare.

“We expect demand to be strong due to the potential that this site offers” Philip Tweedie of joint agents Philip Tweedie & Company also commented: “We are delighted to be appointed as joint agents on this very exciting sale.

“This is in essence the last true seafront site available in Portrush Town and should attract a high level of interest from a mix of entrepreneurs and property developers from far and wide.”

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