ONE of the district's most famous restaurants has gone into administration.

Wednesday, 24th March 2010, 9:30 am

But Richard Ferris, owner of the Halfway House, has said that it's business as usual after the administrators moved in to take control two weeks ago.

FGS McClure Watters have taken over the running of the business while a buyer is sought for the property.

A letter to suppliers, which was given to the Leader, said that Gregg Sterritt had been appointed as the Administrator for the company, known as The Halfway House (Northern Ireland) Limited.

"I would stress that the company is not in liquidation and will continue to trade under my control whilst I seek a buyer for the premises and the business assets of the company as a going concern," he said in his letter.

Mr Ferris said that while he was disappointed that this action had to be taken, he hoped that local people would continue to visit the Halfway. He added that there would be no redundancies.

"Unfortunately it's just a sign of the times," he said. "Although we are very busy at the weekends, there is very little trade from Monday to Friday.

"Although we are in administration, it's still very much business as usual at the Halfway House. The public won't notice a difference in terms of service."

In 2007, plans to extend and make alterations to the existing restaurant and public bar to provide a three-storey hotel with car parking were turned down but were later granted after an appeal and support from Banbridge council.

"Those plans have been on hold for a while and will continue to be on hold for the time being," said Mr Ferris.

The Halfway dates back to the 1800s and has been a popular venue for diners ever since. In 2007 it was named by UTV's Ultimate Ulster as one of the top 10 places in Northern Ireland to eat following a public survey.