Center Parcs has today (30 October) submitted a formal planning application for a new £167m (US$257m, €233m) Village in Ireland – the leisure resort operator’s first venture outside the UK.Having been bought earlier this year by Canadian property giant Brookfield,
Center Parcs is eager to maintain the momentum from the successful launch of its Woburn Forest in June 2014.
The Ireland resort – to be named Center Parcs Longford Forest – would be developed on a 395-acre site in Newcastle Wood, County Longford. Holder Mathias Architects are behind the plans, reprising the role they played in the development of Woburn Forest.
Center Parcs Longford Forest is designed to feature 470 lodges and 30 apartments nestled into the natural surroundings, offering more than 100 indoor and outdoor family activities, a range of restaurants, shops and cafés and the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. A spokesperson told Leisure Opportunities
that the planned Aqua Sana spa would be similar in content to the Woburn Forest version
– but slightly smaller in scale.
“We have many years’ experience of providing high quality family short breaks in the UK and I’m extremely excited by the prospect of bringing our fantastic brand to Ireland,” said Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby.
“The submission of our planning application today is a key milestone for us, as we begin the next chapter in our 28-year story.”
The planning application outlines the impact that the project could have on both County Longford and the national economy, including adding £717m (US$1.1bn, €1bn) to Ireland’s GDP over a 20-year period. It states that the resort’s location in the heart of Ireland would ensure excellent transport links for families from both north and south of the border.
Longford County Council will now undertake a five week period of consultation, during which time the plans will be on public display. Subject to receiving satisfactory planning permission, Center Parcs Longford Forest could open to guests in 2019.
Center Parcs currently runs five holiday villages in the UK and reported pre-tax earnings of £147m (US$224m, €204m) last year. This was bolstered by a 99 per cent occupancy rate for the first three months of business at the Woburn Forest resort.
To read an interview with Martin Dalby, from the Q3 2014 edition of Leisure Management
magazine, click here.