Center Parcs on target for summer opening as FastHouse complete lodges scheme
IRELAND'S first-ever Center Parcs holiday complex is on target to open this summer - due in part to a major construction phase being completed by a Limavady firm.
FastHouse, part of the Kevin Lagan group of companies, has supplied and installed 466 timber lodge frames at the new 400-acre Longford Center Parcs, a €233 million investment which its owners claim will introduce a holiday experience never before seen in Ireland.
And just four months out from its opening, it has emerged that a number of Northern Ireland firms have secured lucrative supply contracts at the village.
Among them, Henderson Foodservice will be supplying the ambient food while the frozen food contract has been awarded to Lynas Foodservice in Coleraine.
Center Parcs Longford Forest will offer 466 lodges and 30 apartments to accommodate 2,500 guests.
The activity resort will provide guests with a choice of more than 100 indoor and outdoor family activities, including subtropical swimming paradise, along with an extensive range of restaurants, cafés and retail outlets.
During its construction phase Center Parcs Longford Forest has created 750 jobs, and once permanently established, it will provide a €32 million annual boost to the economy.
FastHouse, based on Downland Road in Limavady, was awarded the deal to build the lodges by Ireland's largest building company John Sisk & Son, the main contractor on the scheme.
An innovative manufacturer of modular timber frame systems, FastHouse has seen considerable growth since inception in 2016, and its workforce has risen substantially in response to increasing demand for its products, notably in the residential housing market.
"Our rapid build system allows us to construct quality homes to weathertight stage in just two days, a game-changer for an industry faced with so many challenges, including massive skill shortages," Kevin Lagan said.
FastHouse began work at the leisure attraction in January last year in what was the company’s first venture into the Irish market. It included the delivery of ten different types of homes, ranging in size from 865 sq ft to 2,045 sq ft – the equivalent of two to four-bedroom homes.
Speaking after the completion of the contract Sean Fox, the company's sales and installations director, said: “It shows the progression we have made in a short time that we are showcasing the quality of our rapid-build homes at a high-profile location like Center Parcs.
"It’s an attraction renowned for its high standards and thousands of holidaymakers will be able to see first-hand the first-class quality of our homes. Rapid-build, which involves bespoke precision work in the factory and less time and cost on-site, can make a huge contribution to the needs of the Irish residential market. We’re delighted to be involved in such an exciting new venture for the country.”
The Center Parcs concept is centred around providing short breaks to families, close to nature with high quality accommodation, a range of outstanding leisure facilities and more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, all set within a protected and enhanced woodland environment.
The brand currently operates five villages in the UK - Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire; Elveden Forest in Suffolk; Longleat Forest in Wiltshire; Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire.
Each village is set within around 400 acres of natural woodland, with trees, streams and wildlife surrounding apartment and lodge accommodation. At the heart of each village is the subtropical swimming paradise as well as the aqua sana spa.
The company's UK and Ireland head of PR Simon Kay believes Longford Forest will have significant appeal to Northern Ireland holiday-makers, given its central location (it's 125 miles from Belfast and 100 miles from Derry, approximately two and a half hours from each city).
"Opening in Longford was the next natural step for us, having opened our fifth Center Parcs in the UK," he said.
"Geographically Longford is absolutely in the middle of the island of Ireland, and enjoyed good transport links and short travel time from many of the population hubs."
"As well as its 466 lodges and 30 one-bedroom apartments, Center Parcs Longford Forest will boast a subtropical swimming paradise, a beach, lake, an outdoor activity centre, a cycle centre, indoor sports plaza, spa, ten restaurants and six shops.
"It will offer a family break experience never before seen in Ireland," he added.