Center Parcs CEO to host Open Day

Marin Dalby pictured in Newcastle Woods at the site of the new Center Parcs development. The holiday village is expected to open in 2019. Photo: Maxwells/Julien Behal
Possible debt refinancing proposals at UK holiday resort giant Center Parcs will have no affect on plans to construct a €200m leisure resort in Ballymahon.

Possible debt refinancing proposals at UK holiday resort giant Center Parcs will have no affect on plans to construct a €200m leisure resort in Ballymahon.

That’s the view of chief executive Martin Dalby this week as he spoke to the Leader this week about the proposed 375 acre site at Newcastle Woods and an eagerly awaited open day next week.

The open day will be held next Wednesday in Cooney’s Hotel in Ballymahon from 10am to 8pm and local people are invited to come along and meet with Martin Dalby and his team on the day.

Speaking to the Leader this week, Mr Dalby said the firm remained fully committed to delivering on its promise to build a state of the art holiday village by 2019 in Ballymahon.

“We are very excited about the project and that’s why we are coming over next week to meet with local people to tell them more about our plans,” said Mr Dalby.

This July marks the 15th anniversary since his elevation to chief executive officer with the British based holiday firm.

As head of one of Europe’s largest holiday providers, the Center Parcs chief has seen and encountered most issues during that time.

He is optimistic that any issues raised in relation to the Ballymahon project can be dealt with.

“We are very well positioned,” he said.

“When we opened our fifth village in Woburn, there were concerns over traffic on a Monday and Friday but we were able to allay those fears.”

One of the early concerns raised has been around delays in the ‘processing’ times, or the length it took for families to book into a Center Parcs resort.

Mr Dalby replied: “A couple of minutes, that’s all it takes. You can book on the internet and when you arrive you don’t even have to get out of your car.”

He also revealed some details of the work already underway.

Surveys taking in Newcastle Woods’ topography, soil condition, traffic management and even archaeological studies are being carefully assembled.

That’s all part of the company’s plan to submit a formal planning application to Longford County Council by September or early October. Contrary to speculation, that planning application has not yet been submitted.

“It’s important that as part of the planning process it’s (project) fit for purpose.

“ At this stage, nothing concerns us,” Mr Dalby told the Leader.

Next Wednesday, Mr Dalby and a team of his most senior personnel will be on hand to meet with locals as part of a ‘Community Open Day’.

The occasion, he said, will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about the project, the Center Parcs brand and the type of job opportunities that are likely to be available.

“We will be there with directors and HR people to show that and to show that Center Parcs is a friendly, a good company.

“We will be in the area for many, many years.”

The open day is set for next Wednesday May 27 at Cooney’s Hotel, Ballymahon from 10am to 8pm.