2,500 Home Garden City Planned at former Margam Opencast Mine
Plans have been unveiled for a 2,500-home “garden city” with its own railway station, schools, lakes and marina on the site of a former coal mine. Oak Regeneration plans to restore the sprawling opencast pit between Margam and Cefn Cribbwr by creating the new homes which will be built among hundreds of trees. The site has its own rail hub the developers hope could be used to provide transport, along with new roads and pathways.
Oak Regeneration believes the project at the Margam opencast pit between Port Talbot and Bridgend could create thousands of jobs over the next 20 years. Labelled The Big Picture Project, if given full approval the new development will cost hundreds of millions of pounds. Oak Regeneration hopes to submit a planning application by March of next year. It is thought the completion of opencast mining operations could take three years with the first tranche of homes being built within five years.Spokesman Alan Whiteley said: “This would be the first garden city built in Wales since the 1920s when the former Welsh Garden Cities Ltd built garden villages across Wales including sites at Wrexham, Rhiwbina in Cardiff, Aberaman, Hengoed, Pengam and Barry. The mine landscape provides unique opportunities to tap into geothermal heat sources capable of delivering renewable energy to meet the heating and cooling demands of the entire development.
“Our plans for the site have taken time to develop as we have had to get to grips with Margam’s complex mining history dating back to the 1960s. We now have a very exciting vision of what could work at Margam, a vision that could transform this area into one of the most sustainable new communities in the UK. It has a railway platform which can provide a sustainable public transport link and it can connect the short distance to the M4 motorway via new road improvements.”
Paul McTernan, of project planner SLR Consulting Ltd, said: “The project has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs during the different construction phases and over 20 years thousands of jobs would be created. We have a very strategic location at Margam at the heart of the M4 corridor between Swansea and Cardiff with a direct and sustainable link to the local rail and road network. Bridgend Councillor Melville Winter said the development would “create new homes and new jobs”.