The new owners of a proposed hotel site in Ballybunion, are facing a race against time to begin constructing the hotel, before planning permission expires in just ten weeks. The controversial site, once owned by property developer Bernard McNamara, was sold at auction in February, but no construction work has yet taken place. The 2 point 5 acre site in the centre of Ballybunion has had a controversial history. Formerly the location of the Castle Hotel – a popular spot in the resort up to the 1970s – it has changed ownership on a number of occasions. Following the old hotel’s demolition, the site was bought by the former Mayor of San Jose, Tom McEnery, who intended to build a four-star hotel. But the hotel was never built, following a lengthy planning process during which a number of people objected. Mr McEnery eventually secured planning permission for a scaled-down version of his original plans, but later sold the site to property developer Bernard McNamara. The site remained vacant for a number of years, and eventually came under the ownership of NAMA, before being sold at auction in February for 200 thousand Euro. It’s not yet clear if the new owner – believed to be an American businessman -intends to build on the site. However, Kerry County Council confirmed this week, that the existing planning permission for a 71-suite hotel with eight apartments, expires on October 21st, meaning the new owners are in a race against time to construct at least part of the hotel before then.