Wales

Gavin Woodhouse says Afan Valley resort will go ahead

Artist impression of the proposed Afan Valley Adventure resort Image copyright Afan Valley Adventure Resort
Image caption An artist's impression of how the resort could look

A man behind a £200m adventure resort plan says it will go ahead, despite questions about his business affairs.

The proposed Afan Valley Adventure Resort near Port Talbot promises the equivalent of 700 full-time jobs.

However, ITV News and The Guardian have made claims of a multi-million pound "black hole" in Gavin Woodhouse's hotel and care homes businesses.

Mr Woodhouse said he would contest the claims and insisted it was "full steam ahead" for the adventure resort.

Plans for the resort on forestry land at Pen-y-Bryn were given outline conditional planning approval by Neath Port Talbot councillors in March.

In May, Mr Woodhouse told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that his hotels were financed by the sale of rooms to investors who would then lease them back to him for an income.

He said a very similar model was being used in the early days of the adventure resort project.

However, the ITV/Guardian investigation claimed three of four care homes Mr Woodhouse had raised millions of pounds to open had not been built.

Seven investors who put their savings into businesses owned by Mr Woodhouse have now begun legal action, applying to the High Court to have four of his companies taken into administration.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Gavin Woodhouse said he would be contesting the allegations "through the correct channels"

Speaking again to the Local Democracy Reporting Service on Thursday, Mr Woodhouse defended himself against the investigation's claims and insisted: "The resort will still go ahead.

"They've got two and two, and come up with 65," he said.

"We disagree with the sentiments of the article and we will be contesting it through the correct channels.

"It's full steam ahead, it's not going to stop us achieving our goals."

In a statement, Mr Woodhouse's Northern Powerhouse Developments said it was "extremely disappointed" by the ITV/Guardian investigation, describing it as "misleading and inaccurate".

"We remain committed to delivering the projects we have promised our investors," the statement added, saying "the vast majority" had not voiced concerns.

The company also said it was in dialogue with Neath Port Talbot council about finalising the "detailed and complex" obligations needed for full planning permission for the resort.

Scott Jones, the local county councillor for the area, said: "The news has shocked a lot of people.

"However, as far as I am concerned from the information I have received it's not dead in the water."

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