First step in plan set to change the face of village

THE first step in a radical transformation of Douglas village in Cork has been signalled by a 124-bed hotel planning application.

Moves to link the two large shopping centres, Douglas Court and the older Douglas Village Shopping Centre, both owned by the Love family, to pedestrianise the village and to open up new roads as well as providing underground car parking, are being drafted.

As a first step, Douglas Central Properties, linked to Clayton Love and family, has sought permission for an eight-storey building with hotel, bar, restaurant and shop units on a portion of the old TSB site.

If sanctioned, it will be double the height of the tallest existing structures in Douglas, such as the Watergold apartment block.

The Love family bought the Douglas TSB bank property site three years ago, and have also acquired several other key Douglas sites for their strategic long-term development plans for Douglas.

Their initial planning, described as “the first of a series of linked applications” proposes moving the access point to Cinema World car park to the roundabout by Douglas Court, and, ultimately, the cinema itself may be redeveloped or relocated, according to sources.

The plans propose demolition of the TSB administration building, and seek permission for 150 car parking spaces, plus a further 65 underground spaces. Considerably more underground development will be proposed for later elements of their masterplan which centre on creating pedestrian link between the two large shopping centres, one of which is due for major redevelopment.

The Love family is also very actively involved in schemes worth hundreds of millions of euros in Blackpool and Carrigaline.

Meanwhile, with an end-of-year deadline for tax breaks for new hotel investments looming, hotel planning applications are on the increase.

The first of three separate applications alone for Skibbereen was signalled yesterday, with McElhiney Hotels proposing a 73 bed hotel and 37 suite development at the start of the Schull Road.

A second 150-bed hotel may now be provided as well at Cork Airport to take advantage of an expected surge in passenger numbers.

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