TEN log cabins, a spa, and four houses are to be built in a former mining heartland in the Amman Valley.
Carmarthenshire Council’s planning committee approved the scheme, which will be built in phases beside Garnant Golf Club, although members repeatedly asked for confirmation the spa would definitely materialise.
The first phase of the development off Dinefwr Road – to be called Brecon View eco village – will deliver two of the four open market houses and four of the cabins.
Phases two and three will involve the construction of the remaining houses and cabins and phase four the building of the spa.
The scheme had been recommended for approval by officers who said in a report that the four houses – while outside defined development limits – were “vital to the overall scheme” as they provided much of the capital required.
Before making a decision the committee heard the developer had agreed a £24,516 sum towards affordable housing as part of any planning consent.
The application had prompted 18 letters of objection, which raised land ownership queries and drainage and Japanese knotweed concerns, among others.
Ward member councillor Kevin Madge declared an interest at the meeting but spoke in favour of the scheme before leaving the chamber.
Cllr Madge said the eco village would safeguard the adjacent council-owned golf club and provide jobs.
Referring to the pool element of the proposed spa, he said: “I never thought Garnant would have a swimming pool.
“This is going to be a flagship project.”
Planning officer John Thomas told the committee the spa and other facilities would be open to the wider community but some facilities would be on membership basis.
Mr Thomas was asked by councillors Joseph Davies and Carys Jones if the spa would be built, given it was timed to happen after the houses were built and sold.
He replied: “The spa building will be the most expensive to build and the development has to be developed gradually.”
Cllr Ken Howell asked if the developer could renege, saying perhaps that they could not afford the spa.
Mr Thomas said a “critical mass” had to be attained, as with any business model – hence the phasing.
He said: “The profit with the initial phases of the scheme will fund the subsequent phases.”
He added: “We have got that safeguard with the phasing.”
After the vote, committee chairman Alun Lenny said it was pleasing to see a former mining area like Garnant having a new tourist industry.
“Who would have thought that would happen when the coal industry was at its most strong in the valley?” said Cllr Lenny.