Afan Valley adventure resort 'may be in jeopardy'

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

A council leader says he fears plans for a £200m adventure resort could be at risk after an insolvency firm was appointed to manage the firm behind it.

Duff and Phelps have been called in to manage a number of companies owned by businessman Gavin Woodhouse.

An ITV News/Guardian investigation had raised concerns about the financing of other projects linked to the firm.

Neath Port Talbot council leader Rob Jones said the Afan Valley project "may now be in jeopardy".

Plans for the resort on 325-acres (130 ha) of forestry land at Pen-y-Bryn were given outline conditional planning approval by councillors in March.

Backers promised 600 lodges and apartments, a 100-bed hotel and a range of adventure activities, creating the equivalent of 700 full-time jobs,

However, Mr Jones told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "I'm very disappointed that what held so much promise for the Afan Valley may now be in jeopardy.

"It would have brought tourism and money back into the valley with the proposed local employment for local people, and providing on-site services for local suppliers.

"It held so much promise - this could have been a game changer for the Afan Valley and now it appears to be at risk."

Duff and Phelps were appointed interim managers of Northern Powerhouse Developments Ltd (NPD) - the vehicle for the Afan Valley project - at the weekend.

The firm had been appointed to manage another three of Mr Woodhouse's firms last week.

The ITV/Guardian investigation claimed in June that three of four care homes Mr Woodhouse had raised millions of pounds to open had not been built, prompting legal action from investors.

At the time, Mr Woodhouse defended himself against claims of a multi-million pound "black hole" and insisted: "The resort will still go ahead."

He has been approached for comment again.

Meanwhile Center Parks UK founder Peter Moore - who resigned as chairman of leisure at NPD last week - said he still believed the resort was a "stunning project" which was "far too important to the local communities to let it fail".

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