Judge says Center Parcs Longford Forest is 'a fantastic development'

Center Parcs Longford Forest granted declaratory order

Longford Leader

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Judge Keenan Johnson

Judge Keenan Johnson

Longford Circuit Court Judge Keenan Johnson said it was clear that Center Parcs Longford Forest would be a “a fantastic development” for the county during proceedings last week.

The Judge’s comments came after he granted a declaratory order in respect of the holiday village following a hearing in which the company’s legal team made an application to secure the order.

“It is wonderful to see such a brilliant development taking place not only in the heart of Longford but in the heart of Ireland too,” the Judge added.

“The fact that Center Parcs will employ 1,000 people when it is up and running is something else.”

Meanwhile Judge Johnson also heard that the declaratory order - a statement by a judge that they are satisfied that the use of a device, technique or procedure, or the carrying out of an activity, specified in the order is, in the circumstances of the use or the carrying out of the activity specified in the order, reasonable and lawful - while unusual, was necessary so the company could obtain a holiday camp licence under the Tourist Traffic Act 1992.

The order, Counsel for Center Parcs Ms Cassidy BL argued, would allow Longford Forest to get licensing approval “in principal ”.
The court was also told that intoxicating liquor would be sold in conjunction with food, and in a safe and controlled environment at Center Parcs Longford Forest.

Judge Keenan Johnson then heard that plans at the south Longford forest were on schedule for completion in 2019 and at least 1,000 people would be employed at the 404.9 acre site in Newcastle Wood in Ballymahon thereafter.

There are currently 700 people employed in construction at the site, the court was told.

The court also heard that, the company is forecasting 80% of that workforce will be from a 20 km radius of Ballymahon and the holiday resort will provide an experience that is designed to cater for families ranging from short breaks to longer holidays.

There are currently five Center Parcs in the UK which have been developing there for over 30 years, Judge Johnson heard.

“Center Parcs Longford Forest will be of enormous benefit to the local economy and the country as a whole,” added Ms Cassidy BL, before pointing out it was now envisaged that after 20 years of operation the Longford development will have contributed €1bn to the Irish economy.

Judge Keenan Johnson heard last week that Longford forest will include a sub-tropical indoor pool as well as 100 indoor and outdoor activities, bars, restaurants, sports activities and a health spa.

The court was also told that a woodland environment was “critical” to the Center Parcs concept and that to date the forest and its ecosystem had been to the forefront of all the decisions made in respect of planning and development at Longford Forest.

Following his ruling in the case, Judge Johnson said he was satisfied that all matters in respect of the application were in order and he subsequently granted it.

“I want to wish everyone involved in this project the very best of luck,” Judge Johnson concluded.