Final throw of the dice for Altitude

THE developers behind a new resort planned for the outskirts of Dundalk that could create hundreds jobs for the area insist they will take the project elsewhere if their latest bid for planning permission is rejected by Louth County Council.

THE developers behind a new resort planned for the outskirts of Dundalk that could create hundreds jobs for the area insist they will take the project elsewhere if their latest bid for planning permission is rejected by Louth County Council.

Innovative Leisure Systems, the company behind the e430 million Altitude Resort, which could bring six million visitors to the area per year, originally submitted a planning application for the ski slope facility last year.

After a lengthy debacle over alleged submissions, they finally put through the further information requested by the council a fortnight ago.

However, Sam Curran of ILS Ltd said that that would be the last throw of the dice for the development in this area and that they would look at taking the project elsewhere if it was not granted planning permission in six weeks’ time.

Speaking to The Dundalk Democrat, Mr Curran said: “We’ve done all we can and it’s over to the council now.

“We’ve spent e1 million on it so far and we’re not going to spend any more.

“We have looked at other options if this is knocked back and we are considering sites for it in both Belfast and Banbridge.

“We’d like for it to happen here but if we’re knocked back this time then we have to take it that Dundalk doesn’t want us.”

A huge number of submissions against the project were submitted when the original application was put through last year and Curran says he is well aware that that opposition still exists.

He said: “At the end of the day it is people’s right to object but the way it is done makes a mockery of the planning process. There’s nothing we can do about that though but what I would say is this thing about it being an international casino is nonsense. Our commitment is to the first stage and we’ve been out in Boston trying to get international funding to get that off the ground.

“As a country we have to show signs we’re open for business and if this is rejected then it could send the signal out there that no one can do business here because people can make a nonsense of the planning process.”

Curran admitted that even if the project is passed by the council that it would go forward to An Bord Pleanala but said ILS Ltd were prepared for an oral hearing.

Meanwhile, the Louth Environmental Group (LEG), who were investigated for their part in collecting signatures for many of the initial submissions on the project, said in a statement that they were informed this week by the DPP that no prosecutions were being made on the matter.

They added that they are “now in the process of preparing a submission to the planning authorities on the further information response which was recently submitted by Innovative Leisure Systems Ltd.”

ILS Ltd said it was inappropriate of them to comment on a Garda investigation at this time.