Tuesday, 7 October 2008

€250m tourism plan for Boyne Valley

PLANS BY Treasury Holdings for a €250 million development in the Boyne Valley, including tourism facilities and housing, were outlined yesterday to councillors in Co Louth.

Dermot Dwyer of Treasury Holdings told councillors it wanted to develop "an integrated tourism-driven site" which would bring together the elements needed "to make the Boyne Valley not just a day visitor attraction but somewhere people would stay".

Treasury Holdings is also the developer of a planned national conference centre in Spencer Dock, Dublin.

The development outlined yesterday would be located on a site adjacent to the M1 interchange at the Boyne cable bridge in Co Louth.

The project, on a 70-acre site spread over four pockets of land in Tullyallen, includes:

• holiday cottages in addition to 368 houses and apartments;

• a 3,000-sq m visitor centre;

• a mini-landscape of the Boyne Valley;

• a design centre focusing on the Boyne Valley;

• a four-star hotel and spa;

• designer gardens, an activity centre and botanic gardens.

A landmark attraction such as a tethered balloon on the site which would rise to 150m and provide a bird's eye view of the Boyne Valley is also proposed.

Outlining the details to councillors yesterday, Ralph Bingham of Murray O'Laoire architects said it would be similar to the €200 million development by Treasury Holdings of the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel at Powerscourt in Co Wicklow.

A planning application for 368 houses, which forms the first phase of the mixed-use development, is to be lodged in the coming weeks.

The houses would be on a single site to the east of the cable bridge.

Asked by Cllr Jimmy Mulroy (FF) if there was any guarantee "that once you have built the 368 houses" the rest of the plans would proceed in light of the current economic climate, Mr Dwyer replied: "There is no guarantee."

However, he said from a developers' perspective "housing development is not what Treasury Holdings does; we are not speculative housing developers, we deal with large sites with mixed integrated uses. There is no guarantee it is part of a master plan."

He said the Boyne Valley site was one of a number of large sites the company was involved with in Ireland, and it took "a long-term view".

He said it had been involved in the site since 1999, but the area was not zoned for development until 2004. The project was a joint venture with the landowner.

Mr Dwyer said the development would create "several hundred permanent and sustainable jobs", and referred to the Powerscourt development where there were 250 people employed in the hotel and up to 150 in the retail and garden end.

An economic impact study and assessment will form part of the planning application for the lands.

The Irish Times


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