Green light for £250m adventure resort in Afan Valley
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
A detailed plan for a £250m adventure resort in Neath Port Talbot’s Afan Valley has been given the green light today (November 8) after a special council planning committee.
Neath Port Talbot Council’s planning committee was presented with a recommendation to approve the proposed Wildfox Adventure Resort, based on 132 hectares of land at Pen Y Bryn, by Croeserw and Cymmer.
Councilors voted unanimously to approve the application, and praised the move as a momentus occasion for the Neath Port Talbot area in moving forward.
It means the proposals that will include 570 holiday lodges, a 50-bed hotel and 15-bed apartment-hotel, as well as indoor water park and canyon-ing facilities, have now moved one step closer to construction.
When complete, the site will also contain a spa, restaurant with viewing area, a climbing and bouldering building with a small retail central plaza, along with a forest hub and arrivals building.
There will also be a series of mountain bike trails linking the various activities and accommodation, a 650-space guest car park, a 250-space staff car park, guest access off the A4107 to the west, and use of the existing A4063 for staff access via the east.
The approval was granted by the planning comittee after a number of changes from the initial outline consent were made, including plans for a smaller hotel, 30 fewer lodges, and a relocation of the guest car park to the hotel area. Officers also gave assurances of the company’s intention to respect the area’s history and archeaology as well as its use of the Welsh language.
The report heard also how Wildfox Resorts had signed a legal agreement with the council, which included the provision of a solar farm site, as well as an off-site compensation area and associated habitat management plans.
Speaking ahead of the decision, Martin Bellamy, who is the chairman and chief executive of Salamanca Group, said he looked forward to continuing with the project in the Afan Valley which could provide a major boost for the economy of the area.
He said: “When I was first introduced to Afan Valley I instantly saw its potential and it made the perfect home for a new style of staycation in the UK. Our priority is to create memorable experiences not just for our guests but for our workforce.
“Our technical team has been inspired to design a resort that respects the site’s constraints, introduces complimentary artitecture, and integrates building design into the landscape.
“The Afan valley site will benefit from landscape enhancement. The resort will open up procurement and supply chain routes and revitalise the economy through a diverse range of new training and employment for local people. This will boost Welsh tourism and increase the visibility and awareness of the valleys as a year round holiday destination, ensuring sustained and not seasonal employment.”
Cllr Scott Jones added: “This will be a massive game changer for us here in the Afan Valley and it will be an excellent oportunity not only for the valley but the wider county borough of Neath Port Talbot as well.”
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