Wales

Afan Valley adventure resort backers granted extra time

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

Backers of a proposed £200m adventure resort have been granted an extra six months to finalise legal agreements to keep the project alive.

The Afan Valley scheme was thrown into doubt amid allegations of serious financial issues concerning Northern Powerhouse Developments (NPD).

Neath Port Talbot council planners understand administrators will set up a new company to run the project.

Former NPD chairman of leisure Peter Moore said he remained committed to it.

He previously founded the UK branch of leisure resorts company Center Parcs.

Planning committee chairman Suzanne Paddison said: "We need to give this as much breathing room as is possible - I hope the six months will be enough."

The proposals for Afan Valley on 325 acres (130 hectares) of forestry land at Pen-y-Bryn were given outline conditional planning approval by councillors in March.

Image copyright Artist impression
Image caption Restaurants, a hotel, spa and apartments form part of the plan

Developers promised 600 lodges and apartments, a 100-bed hotel and a range of adventure activities, creating the equivalent of 700 full-time jobs, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

However, an ITV News/Guardian investigation in June raised concerns about the financing of other projects linked to NPD and businessman Gavin Woodhouse.

Administrators Duff and Phelps were then called in to manage a number of companies owned by him.

Despite stepping down from his role at NPD, planning officers said Mr Moore had emphasised in writing, and through other actions, he remained committed to the project.

In a report to councillors, planning officers said recent events concerning NPD had "clearly raised significant concerns" about the viability of the project, but added an updated business case for the resort was "deemed to be robust".

At a meeting on Tuesday, Neath Port Talbot's planning committee unanimously agreed to approve the request for a six-month extension of planning permission to March 2020.

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