Center Parcs have announced the first infrastructural contract for its proposed €233m Ballymahon holiday village in County Longford. Limerick-based Road Bridge Civil Engineering and Building Contractors won the contract as part of the development at Newcastle Wood, Longford. The work is scheduled to start this coming May.

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Center Parcs is hoping to open for holiday goers in 2019. It is anticipated to create 750 jobs during the construction over a 2-year period and upon opening employing a further 1000 people in permanent positions.   The proposed plan will invest €400,000 in pre-opening training for employees and a further €140,000 per year once the Village is operational.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny released a statement that: “This project is a perfect fit with our recently announced tourism policy statement which aims to create 50,000 new jobs by 2025”. In addition, Centre Park claims that the project will add 1 billion to Irelands GDP over a 20-year period. It will also contribute to four percent to Longford’s GPD during its construction with a further 2.8% percent annually when setting up.

Martin Dalby, CEO of Centre Parcs stated that “We are thrilled and excited about the prospect of bringing the Centre Parcs concept to families in Ireland. “This is one of the biggest tourism developments in the history of the midlands and will have a hugely positive economic impact on the area. We have more than 28 years’ experience in the UK, and I’m genuinely excited about the prospect of bringing that quality short break to experience Ireland.”

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The 375-acre development site currently owned by Coillte, but have signed an option agreement with Centre Parc which is located 90 minutes from Dublin. They have assured the vast majority of the woodland will remain untouched and the secluded and natural woodland setting is situated perfectly for family’s North and South of the border.

It’s expected that the holiday village will attract 250,000 visitors to Longford every year; this would amount to a fivefold increase in the total number of people visiting the county.

Its plan to develop its sixth centre here is to include, 470 forest lodges, 3 storey apartments with 30 bedrooms, many shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s to include the large subtropical paradise with water amusements and the aqua sauna spa, tree houses and a vast amount of indoor and outdoor activities.  Simon Kay, a spokesperson for Centre Parcs reported the company had been “Overwhelmed with the interest and general positivity…” shown by local people in Longford towards the venture that will provide 1,000 permanent jobs for the county.

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Centre Parcs currently have five chains of holiday villages in the UK: Elveden Forest, Suffolk,Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Whinfell Forest, Cumbria; Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire and Longleat Forest, Wilthshire. Last year the company was bought by a Canadian investment outfit Brookfield and is estimated to be worth £2.4 billion.

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