Developers William Neville and Sons Construction expect the hotel and golf course to be open by the summer of 2023.
Work has started on a new €15 million resort hotel and golf course outside the village of Curracloe, home to Wexford’s award-winning beach, 25 years after planning permission was first sought for the project.
"It's been a long haul. We are quite excited about it”, said Seamus Neville of William Neville and Sons Construction Unlimited which first applied to Wexford County Council for permission to build the hotel in 1997.
Diggers moved onto the extensive site last week at Kilmacoe and Coolrainey, on the outskirts of Curracloe, to commence work on the first phase of the resort development incorporating a 60-bedroom hotel, bar, restaurant, spa, leisure centre and an18-hole championship golf course.
The upper sections of the site, which is divided by the road, enjoy spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding unspoilt countryside.
It is expected that the new hotel will open in the summer of 2023, with the second phase of the project - 22 holiday lodges- due for construction the following year, at an additional cost of €5 million.
Over the years, a number of planning applications for the development were turned down before a 10-year permission was eventually granted in 2015 by An Bord Pleanála but the Wexford-based company ran into another obstacle when Irish Water refused to allow the project to connect into the Wexford main drainage scheme.
Nevilles then sought and were granted approval six months ago by the County Council to amend a condition of planning, enabling the building of an on-site waste treatment plant which will discharge into constructed wetland ponds, with the reclaimed water to be used to irrigate the golf course roughs.
This application paved the way for the project to proceed, with construction work commencing in the same week that Curracloe was coincidentally voted Ireland’s Best Beach in Ireland in the Independent Reader Travel Awards.
"We would have identified the area as having a lot of potential back then. Certainly, we haven’t changed our minds. Curracloe has beautiful beaches, local walks and woodlands. Business should be quite good the whole year round. We are pleased that work has finally started after all these years. The good news is, all going well, that the hotel will open by the summer of 2023”, said Seamus Neville.
He said the 75-hectare site lends itself to expansion. “I would say that when we first applied in 1997, we would have had a different view of things. If we were applying now, we would probably be looking at it with a different eye and to a greater scale but the hotel that we are building is designed to accommodate additional rooms.”
The hotel project was originally granted planning permission in 1997 by Wexford County Council but subsequently turned down on a third party appeal by an Bord Pleanála on grounds including unsatisfactory drainage proposals, that it was premature pending the preparation of a coastal development plan for Curracloe and would injure the visual amenity of the area.
In granting the current permission which was upheld on appeal by An Bord Pleanála, Wexford County Council believed there was adequate waste water capacity for the project and gave approval for the development to be connected to the public sewer at Ardcavan, via a pumping station and rising main along the public road.
But Irish Water didn’t agree to the proposal and the developers were forced to take the more expensive option of building a waste water treatment and wetland ponds system.
The Curracloe hotel will be the latest addition to the hospitality interests of the William Neville and Sons Group which also owns the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, the River Court Hotel in Kilkenny, the Tower Hotel, Waterford and Druid’s Glen Hotel and Golf Resort in County Wicklow.