Plans for a major tourism project in Ballinskelligs are progressing well according to the developer behind the project Mark Coleman who is hopeful that a planning decision will be made in November on whether or not the project can go ahead.
Planning was lodged with Kerry County Council last March and a decision is due in November, Mr Coleman said this week.
Further information was sought from KCC on the project in relation to drainage and archaeology issues and currently the team involved is putting this information together for the local authority. This will be submitted in the coming weeks.
Mr Coleman held a stakeholder meeting last week to update the local community on the project’s progress.
Mr Coleman’s mother, Bridget Coleman née O’Shea, is from Ballinskelligs, and her family owned the farm and buildings on which the project The Skelligs Retreat is to be built at Allagheemore in The Glen.
He wants the community to be involved in the project and part of the profits of The Skelligs Retreat will be used for local community projects. He told the stakeholder meeting last week that once the project becomes profitable 20% of the profits will help support the local area.
The €1.5m wellness retreat will transform historic properties and the 188-acre site, part of which faces the ocean, to provide services including farm fitness, yoga, meditation, a cookery school, bikes, walking trails and sea-weed baths to provide a place for “clean healthy way of life”.
The planning originally lodged last March with further information sought in April which was provided. Planning is being sought for a change of use for of the existing farm buildings to a wellness retreat as well as the construction of another building and five treatment rooms, car park and wastewater unit.
The project will be a sustainable project using clean, green environmental construction materials and practises
The meeting also heard that “the majority of the finance” has been secured for the project and that discussions have also taken place with Failte Ireland. It is hoped that grant aid will also be provided.
Architect David Moriarty of David Moriarty Associates / DMA said that once planning is granted hopefully in early September when tenders for the development will open and it is hoped to begin work in Spring 2022. It is hoped that The Skelligs Retreat will open in 2023 and bring more visitors to scenic South Kerry and boost employment opportunities.