Family short break specialist Center Parcs has revealed plans to develop a new holiday village in Ireland at a cost of almost £150 million.
The 375-acre site located at Newcastle Wood, five kilometres from Ballymahon, County Longford, and 21 kilometres from junction 9 (Athlone) of the M6 motorway from Dublin to Galway, is currently owned by Coillte, the State forestry company.
The new Center Parcs, which is expected to open to guests in 2019 will create approximately 750 jobs during construction. Once open, the development will have capacity for up to 2,500 guests and will employ up to 1,000 people in permanent jobs. Many of these roles are expected to be filled by employees aged 18 to 24, and the majority of employees are likely to live locally.
Center Parcs estimates that, when operational, the new holiday village will add approximately €32 million to Irish GDP per annum.
The new development will feature up to 500 lodges, designed with families and the environment in mind, more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, a range of restaurants and cafés and the iconic Subtropical Swimming Paradise, with water rides and fun for all ages.
Over the last 28 years, Center Parcs has exhibited a track record of taking ecologically poor areas of woodland and, through careful forest management, transforming them into areas rich in biodiversity. Each village has a dedicated team of Conservation Rangers who protect and nurture the woodland.
Public consultation and information meetings will take place in Ballymahon for local residents in due course and a planning application to Longford County Council will be prepared.
Speaking at the launch of the project, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “The prospect of 750 construction and 1,000 permanent jobs is fantastic news for County Longford and the Midlands. Center Parcs will provide a massive boost to the area and contribute significantly to the local and regional economy. This project is a perfect fit with our recently announced Tourism Policy Statement, which aims to create 50,000 new jobs by 2025.
Martin Dalby, CEO of Center Parcs, said: “We are thrilled and excited about the prospect of bringing the Center Parcs concept to families in Ireland. This new Center Parcs will have all of the ingredients that have made us so popular with families in the UK for the last 28 years and I am certain that Center Parcs will be a great success in Longford.”