Wales

Afan Valley Adventure Resort backed by Neath Port Talbot councillors

Artist impression of the Afan Valley Adventure resort Image copyright Afan Valley Adventure Resort
Image caption Backers of the resort say it will be something "totally distinctive and totally new" to the UK

Plans for a £200m adventure resort on forestry land near Port Talbot have been backed by local councillors.

The Afan Valley proposals promise activities including alpine sports and white-water rafting along with a hotel, spa, apartments and restaurants.

Center Parcs UK founder Peter Moore told councillors the site chosen for the project was "breathtaking".

It promises 535 full-time jobs during construction and the equivalent of 700 full-time jobs long-term when open.

A 325-acre (130 ha) former forestry plantation at Pen-y-Bryn has been earmarked for the resort, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Mr Moore told a meeting of Neath Port Talbot councillors the resort would be "totally distinctive and totally new" to the UK and would transform the local economy..

"The benefits here are substantial, and they're real," he said.

"The whole local area lifts it head up again - I have seen it several times."

Adventurer Bear Grylls will also create a base for his survival academy at the resort.

Image copyright Afan Valley Adventure Resort
Image caption The resort will also be promoted as a place to relax

Cymmer ward councillor Scott Jones welcomed the scheme, saying it offered a "brighter, prosperous future" for the Afan Valley which had seen a decline in population since the demise of the coal industry.

Councillor Scott Bamsey said he really hoped the adventure resort would become a reality, pointing out the failure of other projects locally.

But he said that having met those behind the scheme he had faith that it would happen as they had a good track record.

In the long term, the resort is predicted to employ around 450 full-time staff and 520 part-time.

Members of Neath Port Talbot's planning committee voted unanimously to give the application outline permission, subject to conditions.

These include finding a new habitat nearby for reptiles, such as the common lizard, and nightjars living on the site.

A couple of rights of way will be diverted, but a trackway - known as Pig's Walk - across the centre of the site will be preserved, fenced off from the resort.

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