£40m Amman Valley Tourist Resort Plans
Development Company Oak Regeneration has submitted plans for a spectacular £40m tourism resort on the site of former coal mine, East Pit in the Amman Valley. The scheme includes a 120 bed five-star hotel, 78 holiday lodges, water activity centre and dive school, and touring camp site. A planning application for the project which could create around 200 full time jobs has been submitted to Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council with a decision expected in the spring of 2013.
The aim is to build a new country park and tourism resort on the site of the East Pit open cast mine near Brynaman in the Amman Valley. Coal recovery is due to end at East Pit in 2018. If planning permission is granted, the project could inject up to £40m a year into the economy of the area when fully up and running, claim Oak Regeneration.
The application has already gone through a consultation exercise with members of the local community over the last six months involving local schools and residents. The planning application combines plans for the final stage of coal recovery from the mine with proposals to create a lake and country park as part of the restoration of the mine site.
Alan Whiteley for Oak Regeneration, owners of the site, said: “We wanted to come up with a plan to put something back into this community once coal working on the site finishes. The site is right beside the Brecon Beacons National Park which has a very limited accommodation offer so the idea of developing an accommodation resort to service the park’s visitors was quite compelling. This gave us the economic case to use the site to develop new tourism infrastructure for the area and to use the last phase of the mine to put this in place”.The project is being developed in association with the Land Trust, who will take on the management of the site under a 99-year lease. The Land Trust will set up a local charitable trust to run the park and will develop programmes in environmental education, rural skills training, community development and tourism and leisure activities.
Matthew Bradbury, director of operations at the Land Trust, said: “We are delighted to be involved with such an exciting project in the early stages, where we can ensure any proposals are truly sustainable – financially and environmentally – so people can continue to benefit from the new country park for generations to come.”The application was developed by SLR Consulting in Cardiff. Paul McTernan, project director at SLR, said: “This is the first project of its kind in Wales where a regeneration project has been pre-designed before the surface mine has been completed. Precedents exist in places such as the Cotswolds Water Park and Thorpe Park in England where former mineral sites have been transformed into major destination projects that embed long term economic sustainability for communities. That’s what we’re trying to create at East Pit. “