The British: Heritage plan for iron works in Torfaen

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image source, Gwyn Jenkins
image captionBuilt in the 1800s, The British iron works site at Abersychan has been derelict for 40 years

A derelict iron works is set to be transformed by a heritage trail and cafe in a £3.7m project.

It follows decades of uncertainty over the future of the 19th Century site of The British works in Abersychan.

A local business has proposed creating an activity centre and trekking routes, while three sites have been identified for possible housing.

Torfaen council leader Anthony Hunt said it had the potential to be one of the area's "jewels in the crown".

A report to the council's cabinet on Tuesday said the authority took the opportunity to buy the derelict site in 2016 as a "once in a generation" opportunity, ending a cycle of private sector speculation that had been a barrier to regeneration for more than 30 years.

The cafe would be opened in a restored engine house, while the heritage trail would be marked by interactive interpretation panels, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

image source, Torfaen County Borough Council
image captionAn artist impression of the restored engine house

A landscape corridor around ponds would also be created, with new paths for waterside walks.

Mr Hunt said the site presented financial and technical challenges, but could be of great value to the area.

"I'm glad we've moved from that situation of almost despair and lack of hope to one where, yes, there are challenges, but we can bring a positive resolution," he added.

Council officers will now prepare the final designs ahead of a planning application being submitted.

Remediation works would then begin to tackle flood risks and mine shaft safety.

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