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Plans outlined for major programme of improvements to historic country park

31 May 2023 2 minute read
Gnoll County Park. Photo Neath Port Talbot Council

Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter

Proposals to develop the Gnoll Estate Country Park in Neath have been set out as part of Neath Port Talbot’s £17 million share of the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme.

The well known park based in Neath was awarded a share of the funding alongside Waterfall Country, Pontneddfechan, with the aim of establishing Neath as a major heritage and environment-led visitor destination.

Set within 200 acres of woodland, the Gnoll Estate is situated to the eastern side of Neath town centre and is known for its picturesque beauty and historical importance to the town. It has become a major attraction for both locals and visitors over the years and features a combination of industrial and ornamental features.

If approved, new proposals could see the demolition and rebuilding of the existing visitor centre, the extension of and increase to the existing visitor car parking area, and refurbishment and potential extension works to Pond Cottage.

It could also see the consolidation and repair works to Gnoll House ruins, the creation of an education interpretation centre in Gnoll House Cellars, as well as the creation of visitor accommodation within Kitchen Garden area and landscape works at Gnoll Estate Country Park.

Heritage destination

The bid, which came from Neath Port Talbot Council, will see the funding worth around £17.7 million shared to focus on the two destinations in Neath, with the aim of developing the area into a major heritage and natural environment visitor destination.

The Levelling Up programme was announced by the UK Government in 2019, and aims to spread opportunity more equally across the UK. It also looks to support cultural investment, such as helping to maintain and regenerate museums, galleries, visitor attractions and other heritage assets.

With funding granted, developers at Asbri Planning Ltd have now been commissioned by the head of property and regeneration for Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council to undertake pre-application consultation at Gnoll Estate Country Park, ahead of a full planning application which is expected in the coming months.

Developers have said anyone who wishes to make representations about this proposed development should do so by June 15, 2023.

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