Amended licensing legislation at Center Parcs to impact other tourism developments
In 2016, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission to turn a former 400-acre Coillte forest on the outskirts of Ballymahon, Co Longford, into Ireland’s newest holiday resort. With its first entry into the Irish market, Center Parcs announced its intention to construct a €233 million forest resort with the prospect of generating 1,000 jobs. The engineers, architects and contractors working on the development of this epic holiday resort encountered many unique challenges. Such was the scale of the project, that alcohol license rules had to be redrawn to cater for its requirements.
ORS, an Irish multidisciplinary firm of engineers and construction specialists, was the only third party commissioned to play a role on the Center Parcs project from planning to snagging. The ORS Fire team successfully obtained the initial Fire Safety Applications and the firm was also appointed assigned certifier on the project. Acting in both roles, the firm was uniquely placed to assist Center Parcs in compiling the necessary documentation for their Licensing Application.
Over 300 documents and certificates were compiled and presented to Longford County Council Fire Service where they were carefully reviewed and thoroughly examined. This review process was in conjunction with site inspections to ensure all construction work was of the highest standards. During the licensing application at Portlaoise Circuit Court, Senior Counsel Constance Cassidy representing Center Parcs, told Judge Keenan Johnson that the application was part of “such an enormous project that the old regulations which applied to holiday camps had to be updated”. The court heard that the company had taken multiple steps to ensure it would be a good neighbour to other Longford residents. It was stressed that everything promised in its planning application had been delivered. Legislation was amended and an alcohol license was granted to cover the entirety of the resort’s 400 acres rather than specific buildings within it.
While not all projects will have the expanse of a 400-acre site, for developments such as hotels and golf courses alcohol sales will no longer be limited to the hotel bar or the club house. ORS is looking forward to working with our clients on developing the interesting commercial opportunities that the amended legislation will provide.
As Judge Johnson stated during the applications court hearing, Center Parcs Longford Forest presented an opportunity to “deliver a tremendous boost not only to the local economy but to the whole country”. ORS is proud to be associated with a project that while only in operation 3 months looks set to deliver this opportunity.
For more information in relation to fire safety applications or licensing applications please contact Rory Walsh.