A TOURISM and leisure development costing millions of pounds will help breathe new life into the Neath Valley.
Log cabins, housing and a leisure centre complete with restaurant and shops are all in the plans for historic Rheola Estate between Resolven and Glynneath.
It will also see the former TRW factory in Resolven, which closed last year with the loss of 200 jobs, become home to the weekly Rheola market as it will have to move to make way for the new developments.
The proposals are part of a masterplan drawn up between Neath Port Talbot Council and the estate’s owner following consultation with the Welsh Assembly and Cadw.
Councillors have agreed with the masterplan in principle and the proposals will now be the basis of a planning application expected in the next few weeks.
A specific planning application relating to the new use of the TRW factory has already gone in.
“The Rheola Estate is on the outskirts of Resolven in an area that is included in the council’s plans for the regeneration of the Neath Valley,” said a council spokeswoman. “With the Waterfall Country nearby, the area is well visited by tourists and the development fits into the council’s tourism and leisure strategy.”
The 95-acre site includes the original Rheola house designed by Regency architect John Nash in 1809. Experts place the estate as one of the top five most important John Nash projects in Britain.
On the cards are a residential development on part of the estate to raise some of the funding needed to take the leisure and tourism plan forward.
Holiday log cabins would be built, along with a leisure complex that would include a swimming pool, spa, gym, restaurant, bar and shop, for use by tourists staying at Rheola and for the wider public.
Council environment director John Flower said: “There has been interest shown by industrialists to develop the site.
“But the council sees the future regeneration of the estate and this part of the valley focusing on tourism and leisure.
“This is a beautiful part of the Neath Valley and this masterplan will act as a catalyst to bring forward the council’s aspirations.”