independent

Tuesday 11 December 2018

€1m village investment

Green light for development of the surfing centre of excellence in Strandhill

Jenny McCudden

It's been a long time coming but after planning delays of three years, the 'Surfing Centre of Excellence' in Strandhill has finally got the green light to go ahead.

The state-of-the-art building will be situated at the 'Four Winds' site along the seafront next to Shells café. Sligo County Council has just submitted a funding application to Fáilte Ireland for almost €1m to fund the €1.27m development.

The Four Winds site is owned by the Walton Family who run the popular Voya Seaweed baths from the council owned building next door.

Voya's Neil Walton explained that they will effectively be doing a 'straight swap' with the council and donating €200k on top of that to the community centre project.

"There will be a swap of locations. We will be giving a cash donation of €200k on top of that as part of the deal and we get to keep this building which is owned by the council. We plan to do a major extension and renovation project here," he said.

"There was two objections to the plans for the interpretative centre from a local business to the council and An Bord Pleanala but they were overturned," said Neil who is delighted that the major project looks set to start soon.

He said: "There is so much positive good will towards this. The whole community has got behind this, the local clubs, surfing fraternity and Strand Celtic. I'm overwhelmed with the positivity from local people."

The multi-purpose space will be state of the art and building with changing facilities, retail units and will incorporate an international surfing centre. It will be called The Surfing Centre of Excellence. Sligo County Council is project managing the development. The council is seeking €956k in Fáilte Ireland funding.

Sinn Féin Councillor Chris MacManus has welcomed the latest move: "This is great news for the community, not only from the continued potential for tourism growth, but also as Strandhill is the largest village in the County with no dedicated community centre.

"For too long the community has watched as the village has grown but no community centre has been provided to match the rising population. Further, a state-of the-art surf centre facility, will enhance the tourism potential for the area as a key piece of infrastructure along the Wild Atlantic Way."

Referring to the ongoing delays Cllr McManus said: "There was some concern in the community that the process had stalled over recent months."

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