Delegation for Center Parcs

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Councillors are set to travel to a Center Parcs site in the UK to see at first hand how the leisure resort giant operates.

Councillors are set to travel to a Center Parcs site in the UK to see at first hand how the leisure resort giant operates.

Elected members learned of the open invitation at last week’s county council meeting.

Director of Services Frank Sheridan said the trip would be a one day affair, leaving from Dublin on the morning of August 26 and returning later that night.

He also revealed the cost of the journey and flight would be covered by the County Council.

Councillors will fly into Luton Airport where they will be picked up by private bus and given a guided tour of Woburn Forest Complex in Bedfordshire.

The fifth and smartest addition to the Center Parcs brand, the 365 acre site cost £250m to build.

With 625 self-catering lodges to its name, it’s slightly more than the 500 or so that are being planned for its Ballymahon equivalent.

The site, which opened just over a year ago also includes a £12m spa and a Subtropical Swimming Paradise, the latter of which is also included in the proposed south Longford development.

In a light-hearted twist, Mr Sheridan told councillors the company had also invited representatives from the media “to keep an eye on ye for the day”.

That drew a large cheer from the chamber while some members looked over to the press corner in quiet amusement.

Cllr Seamus Butler continued with the cheerful tone as he joked those that do attend “must bring their togs”.

Independent Cllr, Mae Sexton also got in on the act, telling the assembled media that the were obliged to attend.

“Seeing as ye are here ye have to be nominated,” she said.

Center Parcs, who plan on opening a €200m site in Ballymahon by 2019, are in the process of drafting up planning submissions for the 375 acre site at Newcastle Woods.

The first of those is expected to be lodged with Longford County Council by late September or early October.