A view of the front entrance of Newcastle House, close to Ballymahon.

Second holiday park project proposed for Ballymahon area

The Ballymahon area could become home to its second holiday park should newly lodged plans for 99 mobile homes and camping facilities on the grounds of the historic Newcastle House progress.

A planning application has been lodged by Hau Yan Lee seeking approval from Longford County Council to construct another holiday park, a short distance away from the existing Center Parcs forest village in Newcastle Wood, which the application documents claim “will give the site a new lease of life for generations to come”.

First mooted last summer on a much larger scale, this particular proposal concerns a smaller project in phase one consisting of 99 static mobile homes, an area for touring pitches and camping spaces, a playground, and a reception hut on the 14.8 hectare site adjacent to the historic home and its environs, which is a protected structure.

The planning documents stress, however, that the design has been carefully prepared to ensure there is “no impact to the adjacent buildings” and no works are planned for any existing structures as part of the application, lodged on April 24.

The vision statement, which forms part of a plethora of reports lodged in support of the application, vows that the development will “cater for a range of budgets” with self-catering mobile homes of varying sizes and prices from the budget to exclusive, touring caravans, motor homes and tents with space for 100 on powered and unpowered sites all-year-round.

There would be activities, both indoor and outdoor, available to the guests, the application adds, predicting that there could be 1,500 people on-site during peak season, including staff.

Employee numbers are envisaged at “30 full-time and 50 part-time” when the park is fully functioning, while they also predict there will be 40 full-time roles created during the construction phase.

“If permitted this development would be the first phase of an overall development of 198 static mobile homes and 100 camping and touring pitches on the site,” one of the reports included in the planning file maintains.

Newcastle House is a 300-year-old plus manor house, set on the banks of the River Inny, close to Ballymahon, which stands on 44 acres of parkland and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of forest. The site of the proposed holiday park incorporates the grounds of Newcastle House, including the walled garden.

And this project, the planning documents claim, will enable the site to be accessible to a wider range of people, while careful consideration has been given to “the landscape within the landholding to ensure minimal impact”.

A decision is expected from the local authority on the holiday park project plans by June 15 next.