Planning application submitted for €233m ‘Center Parcs Longford Forest’

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

An artist's impression of the north entrance to the Village Centre at the �233m 'Center Parcs Longford Forest' development near Ballymahon. Center Parcs formally submitted its planning application to Longford County Council today.
Center Parcs has formally submitted a planning application to Longford County Council today, seeking approval to develop Center Parcs Longford Forest on a 395 acre site at Newcastle Wood, five kilometres from Ballymahon.

Center Parcs has formally submitted a planning application to Longford County Council today, seeking approval to develop Center Parcs Longford Forest on a 395 acre site at Newcastle Wood, five kilometres from Ballymahon.

Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby said: “The submission of our planning application today is a key milestone in our ambition to bring Center Parcs to Longford. This is one of the biggest tourism developments in the history of the Midlands and will have a hugely positive economic impact on the area. We have more than 28 years’ experience in the UK and I’m genuinely excited about the prospect of bringing that quality short break experience to Ireland.”

The planning application outlines the transformative impact that Center Parcs Longford Forest could have at a county, regional and national level, including:

* €1 billion addition to Ireland’s GDP over a 20 year period;

* 4% boost to County Longford’s GDP during construction and a further 2.8% annually when operational;

* 1,000 permanent jobs, across all skill levels, at the Village once operational;

* Approximately 750 jobs during construction;

* An estimated 300 jobs in the wider economy once the Village is operational;

* Investing €400,000 in pre-opening training for employees and a further €140,000 per year once the Village is open;

* 250,000 visitors to County Longford each year, amounting to a five-fold increase in the total number of tourists visiting the county;

* An increase in the county’s tourist guest night capacity from 280 to more than 3,000 beds.

In April this year, Center Parcs announced that it had selected Longford as the location for its first holiday Village in Ireland, where it will provide forest breaks in a secluded and natural Irish woodland setting.

Since then Center Parcs has engaged in extensive and ongoing consultation with the local community to develop the proposed plans for the €233 million forest holiday Village.

Center Parcs Longford Forest will bring together the high quality features for which Center Parcs is renowned, including 470 Lodges and 30 apartments designed with families and the environment in mind, more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, a range of restaurants and cafés, shops and the iconic Subtropical Swimming Paradise, with water rides and fun for all ages.

Longford County Council will now undertake a five week period of consultation, during which time the Center Parcs plans will be on public display at the Council office.

Subject to receiving satisfactory planning permission, Center Parcs Longford Forest could open to guests in 2019.

Welcoming the news that Center Parcs has formally submitted their planning application, Deputy Robert Troy commented, “This investment highlights the potential that exists to grow the tourism industry in Longford over the coming years.”

He added, “This planning application is a step forward for the project, but it is important that we continue to work hard to secure the development and bring much needed jobs to Longford over the coming years.”

While Deputy Gabrielle McFadden said, “I am delighted to see this project progress with the planning application being submitted today. Longford County Council will now hold a five week period of consultation, during which time the plans will be on public display at the Council office. I encourage local people to look at the plans and engage with the process, and we can all look forward to the benefits this project will bring to Longford over the coming years.”