ONE of Britain’s leading holiday resort providers has agreed a deal to build a €200million site in Ireland that will create almost 2,000 jobs.
Center Parcs UK has signed an agreement with the State forestry board, Coillte, for a 375-acre village resort to be built at Newcastle Wood, near Ballymahon, Co. Longford.
The deal, subject to planning permission being granted, means that the resort will be open to guests by 2019.
It is expected that 750 jobs will be created in the construction stage, which could last for two and a half years, with 1,000 permanent jobs to follow.
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.”
With five forestry based village resorts and a turnover of over €400million, Center Parcs run some of the most successful family holiday venues Britain.
The company intends to lease hundreds of acres of mature and semi-mature forestry at Newcastle, near Ballymahon.
Mark Foley, Managing Director of Coillte Enterprise, said: “Coillte is delighted to have been able to play its part in facilitating this major inwards investment opportunity through the sale of forest land to Center Parcs.”
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.
It expected that planning permission will be sought in the next six months to construct more than 500 lodges and villas, with a capacity for up to 2,500 guests.
There will be more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, restaurants and cafés and the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, with water rides and fun for all ages.
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.”
Center Parcs has five villages across Britain providing short-break holidays for families.
It’s British locations are in Whinfell Forest, Cumbria; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest, Nottinghamshire; Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire and Longleat Forest in Wiltshire.