South West Wales

Robbie Savage behind hotel and restaurant in Carmarthenshire

Robbie Savage
Image caption Wrexham-born Savage won 39 caps for Wales during his career

Former Wales footballer and Strictly Come Dancing competitor Robbie Savage is aiming to move into the hotel trade.

He and a business partner are behind plans for a development near Ffos Las Racecourse in Carmarthenshire.

An outline planning application for a 35-bedroom hotel and restaurant has been submitted to the local council.

A football camp or other sports facilities could also be built on the 20 acre site near Trimsaran.

The Wrexham-born midfielder has teamed with Llanelli based businessman Tony Quaglia for the project.

The pair became friends when Mr Quaglia was a member of the Wales backroom staff under former manager Mark Hughes and Savage was a regular international.

The application is being handled by Stuart Owen, a partner at Owen Banks Planning and Development.

Mr Owen told BBC Wales: "Robbie loves the area and can see the potential.

"He is not a hotelier so hopefully once we get outline consent they will look for a development partner - possibly a hotel chain.

"But Robbie wants to stay with the concept and stay with the hotel.

"He would want to retain not just an image element but also an ownership element."

He said Savage, who is a regular football pundit on BBC radio and television, had extensive contacts in the football and show business world that could help attract further investment.

The business partners have acquired a 20 acre site next to the racecourse which opened in 2009.

Mr Owen said the proximity to the track was a big factor in choosing the site but added: "You can't operate a hotel on the basis of 26 race days a year.

"They are also looking at the tourism element and the proximity to Pembrey Country Park."

Image caption An outline planning application has been submitted to Carmarthenshire council

Mr Owen said it was hoped the restaurant would become popular and well used by people living in the area.

"The site is approximately 20 acres," he added.

"That gives a lot of development opportunity beyond the hotel.

"There are ideas that are in the air at the moment - there might be room for a soccer camp. There are all sorts of options."

It is expected to take several months before the application goes before Carmarthenshire's planning committee.

Mr Owen said they had submitted a number of reports with the outline application addressing environmental, conservation and highways issues.

"Pre-application meetings have been very positive," he added.

Carmarthenshire council leader Meryl Gravell said the hotel could create up to 30 jobs in the county.

"It is so encouraging to hear that his group has so much faith in the county after seeing all the tremendous regeneration that has, and is being, achieved," she added.

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