Challenge emerges to €233m Center Parcs holiday village

Appeals lodged with planning board against Longford council’s green light for proposal

Computer generated image issued by Center Parcs of the company’s planned resort in Ireland, at Newcastle Wood, Co Longford. Photograph: PA

Computer generated image issued by Center Parcs of the company’s planned resort in Ireland, at Newcastle Wood, Co Longford. Photograph: PA

 

A county council’s decision to grant plant planning permission for a €233 million Center Parcs village has been appealed to an Bord Pleanála.

Three parties have lodged appeals with An Bord Pleanála against Longford County Council’s decision to grant planning permission to Center Parcs holiday village.

The Center Parcs holiday village will be the biggest private tourism development in the State. It is due to be completed by 2019.

The development will create approximately 750 jobs during the construction phase. When operational, it will seek to employ up to 1,000 people in permanent posts, with the majority of employees likely to live locally. It will have capacity for up to 2,500 guests.

It is to include 470 lodges and 30 apartments, indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, restaurants, cafes, shops and the subtropical swimming paradise feature.

Center Parcs estimates that, when operational, the holiday village will add approximately €32 million to Irish gross domestic product (GDP) per annum, and €1 billion over the next 20 years.

The date for objections closed last Thursday.

The council approved planning permission for the proposed holiday village in February, having received more than 80 submissions in relation to it.

The planning board is expected to rule on appeals before July 25th.

Appeals were submitted to the statutory planning authority last week by two parties, Robbie Hannifin of Corboy, Edgeworthstown, and Mr B Power of Dun Darragh, Dublin Road, Longford.

‘Unsustainable’

Both applications question the sustainability of Center Parcs planned development.

In a submission made to the local authority prior to permission being granted, Mr Hannifin said: “I submit that the proposed development is unsustainable and would, if commenced, become Carrigglas No 2.”

In 2004 Carrigglas Manor was unveiled as the site for a €100 million tourism project which would have been the largest of its kind in Longford.

The project was never completed as the developers went into liquidation and it was put up for sale in 2014

The submission made by B Power questions sustainability of the Center Parcs proposal.

“There’s not the remotest prospect of any sustainable numbers travelling to Ballymahon,” said Mr Power.

Other objections lodged with the council raised concerns about the number of guests arriving to Ballymahon, while others have asked that the access routes planned for the park be changed so as to preserve their quality of life.

A submission received from Frank and Mary Small with an address at Newcatle, Co Longford, raised concerns about traffic in the area.

“From my observations I was aware of a high frequency of accidents on the Toome-Newcastle Road but it is only recently that I was able to verify that fourteen accidents had occurred on this stretch of road in the last three years,” noted the submission.

“Any increase in the traffic on this road will inevitably lead to more accidents and perhaps even worse. For this reason alone I would ask you to take all necessary measures to reduce the amount and speed of traffic on this road.”

A spokeswoman for Center Parcs said “it has been notified of three appeals to the decision by Longford County Council to grant planning permission for its application to develop a €233 million forest holiday village in Co Longford. Center Parcs will continue to co-operate fully with this next stage of the planning process.”