FERMANAGH and Omagh District Council has opposed plans to create a £25 million tourist resort on Lough Erne that could generate up to £8.7 million a year for the local economy and attract more than 16,500 additional visitors here each year.
The council has voiced objections to the project at Gublusk Bay in Killadeas on the grounds that there is insufficient “demand” for the proposed development.
Plans for the ‘tourist destination resort’ known as ‘Catalina Bay’ were first mooted by Enniskillen developers Townland Properties Ltd in 2011 and include a 83 bed four-star hotel, 68-self catering courtyard apartments and ten self-catering lodges. The resort would comprise 35 acres of woodland and grass fields on the site of the former RAF base at Gublusk Bay.
According to the applicant, the development, which also includes a 100 berth floating marina, leisure facilities, restaurant and an RNLI station has the potential to create over 700 construction jobs and 140 full-time equivalent positions once operational. However the project, which has yet to be granted planning permission, has faced local opposition including 24 letters of objection lodged with the planning service over the past six years.
In consultation responses sent to the Department for Infrastructure last week, the council expressed concerns over the impact on the “vulnerable” rural landscape and questioned the need for it.
“The applicant should demonstrate that there is demand for all the development proposed, including the hotel and chalet development. This is a concern that the demand for tourist accommodation is not as significant as the proposal demonstrates,” a spokesman said.
St Angelo Airport have also objected to the proposed development which is within the air traffic zone and in close proximity to runway approaches.
“We would therefore object to the approval of such a development on the grounds of safety,” manager Noel Baskin said.
Opposition has also previously been expressed by management of the Manor House Country Hotel, who said the development could “hinder further investment”.