Formal plans to open a new holiday park at Hearty’s Folk Cottage have been now been submitted to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
The move follows the earlier submission of a pre-application notice and event.
Feedback has now been used to shape proposals which would, if approved, provide a significant tourism boost for the area.
Hearty’s Folk Cottage, on the Lurgan Road, near Crossmaglen, is the epitome of Irish traditional charm and is nestled within a stunning scenic setting.
A full planning application was submitted in July for a proposed change of use from the existing gift shop on site to licensed bar, with a planned extension and beer garden. The existing Redfellas bar and restaurant would remain as restaurant only.
Now details have been presented to planning officials for the intended holiday park, with the applicant being Crossmaglen resident Aoife Daly.
It would be situated on lands to the west and rear of Hearty’s Folk Cottage.
A total of 14 chalets would be built, as well as an amenity building to provide additional facilities for tourists.
There would also be open space and landscaping across the site, as well as car parking provision too.
According to a design and access statement, the plans would promote a balanced approach that safeguards tourism infrastructure while benefiting society and the economy.
“The proposal seeks to create a holiday park at and in conjunction with the existing Hearty’s Folk Cottage tourist/recreation facility,” it adds. “The proposal is discrete and sensitive to its surroundings and is therefore complaint with the regional development strategy.”
The proposed chalets would be “integrated and absorbed into the landscape without adverse impact on visual amenity or rural character”, while their design would be “sympathetic to the existing stone buildings which comprise of Hearty’s Folk Cottage”.
The chalets would consist of four one-bedroom units and 10 two-bedroom properties. They would boast a collective floorspace of close to 9,000 sq ft, while the amenity building is just in excess of 1,600 sq ft.
The amenity building is to the front of the site.
But the design and access statement assures: “It has been designed so as to not take away from the existing character of the Hearty’s Folk Cottages. It is sufficiently removed from their immediate setting and is considered to merge with the surrounding countryside context in that it has a curved roof with trapezoidal wall and roof panels which is similar to surrounding buildings.”
Access to the overall site remain as present.
The design statement says the development is “likely to translate into newly-created employment opportunities – both direct and indirect – for the local economy”.
And it concludes: “This holiday park proposal represents a legitimate business opportunity to maximise its location within the countryside adjacent to the famous Hearty’s Folk Cottages, in retaining and promoting visitors to the borough for overnight stays with associated expenditure in the local area.”
It was only in September of last year that Hearty’s Folk Cottage and Redfellas Bar – as well as agricultural lands – were advertised for sale.
With whitewashed walls and thatched roof, it has been a must call for visitors to the area for many years now.
These proposals, if given the go-ahead, are expected to add to its appeal.
They will now be considered and a decision made in due course.