Center Parcs, a leader in the UK family short break market, today announced plans to develop a holiday village at Newcastle Wood, five kilometres from Ballymahon, Co Longford, and 21 kilometres from junction 9 (Athlone) on the M6 motorway from Dublin to Galway.
The 375-acre site is currently owned by Coillte, the State forestry company, and Center Parcs has signed an option agreement with the company.
The new Center Parcs, which is expected to open to guests in 2019 (subject to receiving satisfactory planning permission), will create approximately 750 jobs during construction. Once open, the €200 million 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 between the ages of 18 and 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.
Center Parcs offers high quality short breaks in a secluded and natural woodland setting. The five Center Parcs in the UK are popular with families, with the business consistently exceeding 97% year round occupancy.
The new development will bring together the high quality features for which Center Parcs is renowned, including up to 500 lodges, designed with families and the environment in mind, more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spectacular 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 proven 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 today’s announcement, 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