Plans advance for major regeneration project at a former iron works
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Plans for the first phase of a major regeneration project at a former iron works site in Torfaen are moving forward.
Details of works to improve the safety of The British in Talywain have been lodged with Torfaen council in an environmental impact assessment report.
The scheme is aimed at preparing the site for redevelopment, with a masterplan approved by councillors in 2018 and the site also allocated for “a major land reclamation scheme” in the council’s Local Development Plan.
The British is the largest remaining site of industrial dereliction in south-east Wales, with Torfaen council purchasing 1,300 acres of the land in 2016.
Planing documents say the first phase of work is to remediate the coal tips and to reduce the risk of flooding by creating a new watercourse and pond.
It will involve investigation and remediation of mine entry points which pose the greatest risk to users of the site.
Responsibility for 22 shafts and 17 adits was transferred to Torfaen council as part of the site purchase.
Of these, 11 shafts and seven adits – which are considered high priority in the risk ranking – are included in the remediation proposals.
A new watercourse will redirect a stream from existing culverts into new channels, and a new pond will be created which will connect to the watercourse, reducing the use of the deteriorating culverts.
The work will focus on the area known as the ‘The Black Patch’, the most significant tip which is thought to be sited on top of older ironstone tips.
The first phase of the project is due to be completed by March 2023 and has received funding from Welsh Government.
A range of options have been looked at for the future redevelopment of the site, with a public consultation in 2018 showing support for a heritage trail and cafe.
“Torfaen council have proposed a range of improvements to the area known as The British, to include improved access routes and visitor experience enhancements, residential development and creation of a landscape corridor including hydrological improvements to the site and enhancements for biodiversity,” a screening report says.
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