Detailed proposals for Ireland’s first Center Parcs holiday resort have been put on display with a planning application to be made in the autumn.
Management confirmed that the 375-acre site known as Longford Forest will employ 750 workers during a two-year construction of 500 lodges, apartments and treehouses, swimming pools, spa, shops, restaurants, and a lake.
They also insist that most of the 1,000 employees to be hired for the 2019 opening will be local.
Martin Dalby, Center Parcs chief executive, said that putting plans on display for the Irish resort was a milestone.
“We have over 28 years’ experience in developing and operating market leading holiday villages throughout the UK, and we are excited about the prospect of bringing our award winning short break offering to Irish families,” he said.
“As we get one step closer to applying for planning permission, our focus today is to continue our dialogue with the community, share our plans and listen to people’s views.”
Locals in Ballymahon, Co Longford, have been inspecting the detailed masterplan for the €200m development in Newcastle Wood, about 5km from the town.
Scale models of accommodation, which ranges from one-bed apartments to four-bed lodges, were on display along with information on the buildings to be constructed including for the “subtropical swimming paradise”, the “aqua sana spa”, outdoor and indoor leisure and sports facilities and a nature centre.
Center Parcs estimate the resort will pump €1bn into the economy of the Midlands over 20 years.
“Today marks a significant milestone in our plan to bring Center Parcs to Ireland,” Mr Dalby said.
“Center Parcs Longford Forest will have a significant impact on the local and regional economy, bringing 1,750 jobs and a €1bn injection into the economy over a 20 year period.”
Longford County Council has allowed for five weeks consultation once the planning application is sought later in the year.
The company says the vast majority of the woodland sites upon which their parks are built remain untouched with only 10% of the total area typically built on.
Center Parcs announced its plans to develop the resort in Ireland in April this year.
Longford Forest will add to the company’s five short break destinations in Britain, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat Forest, Wiltshire; Whinfell Forest, Cumbria; and Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire.
They were sold to a Canadian investment outfit Brookfield earlier this year in a deal estimated to be worth £2.4bn.
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