Leisure complex planned on site of renowned Grade II listed country house
Lewis Smith Local Democracy Reporter
Plans for a leisure complex including a 295-bed boutique hotel, spa and sports facilities have been submitted on the site of a well-known Grade II listed country house.
The Rheola Estate in the Neath Valley was first built in the early 19th century and includes a former manor house, stables and gardens on 41 hectares of land between the towns of Resolven and Cwmgwrach.
The land, which contains a total of three Grade II listed buildings including Rheola House, the stables and coach house, plus an ice house, also comes with a large pond area which is believed to be around 10 acres in size.
‘Pod’ style units
If given the go-ahead by Neath Port Talbot Council bosses, the proposals would see the creation of a large “mixed-use development” that includes several detached ‘pod’ style units, as well as a boutique hotel, spa, leisure and sports complex, and further retail and commercial developments.
According to British Listed Buildings, the country manor in Neath Port Talbot was almost certainly designed by famous architect John Nash, known for being appointed by King George IV to extend and transform Buckingham Palace to the iconic façade that can be seen today.
It is currently allocated in the council’s LDP for a tourism re-development, and has previously had an application given in for a similar leisure complex in 2011, though these proposals were never taken forward.
The latest plans read: “In total, 295 lodges and accommodation units are expected to be provided on site based on the emerging master plan. This will be accompanied by a leisure and sports complex including a swimming pool, play areas, spa, gym, and external sports areas such as a MUGA, tennis and padel courts, etc.
“The listed Rheola House itself will be redeveloped into a boutique hotel & spa, with other facilities including a bar, restaurant & lounge, as well as bedroom accommodation, and including the reinstatement of an orangery type structure.
“There will also be a further retail and commercial development based around the stables and mill buildings consisting of a pub/restaurant, farm shop/ café & complementary retail space relating to leisure activities such as non-motorised water-based sports and cycling. Car parking will also form part of this area of the development.”
In the plans, developers say because of the “complex and multi-phase nature of the development proposals” a hybrid planning application will now be submitted to the local authority following a pre-application consultation.
An application for a screening opinion has also been requested by planning company DPP, on behalf of developers Brook Group, in order to find out if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required before the proposals can be taken further.
Ground conditions may also be considered before any approval is given, as part of the estate was home to an aluminium factory which was operational until 1982. While this this has since been demolished, surveys may be required to assess any potential contamination left as a result.
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