Press Release


28 July 2020

Today (28 July), Neath Port Talbot Council’s Planning Committee approved an important package of consents for vitally important regeneration schemes designed to play a central part in the local authority’s plans to mitigate the increasingly serious economic impact of the Covid pandemic.

The planned GCRE site at Nant Helen

This has become even more important with the uncertainty surrounding negotiations between the UK Government and Tata.

The projects consented include:

* Approval of the next stage of the multi-million pound regeneration of Neath Town Centre supported by Welsh Government funding and including new leisure facilities to promote footfall in the town;

* The earthworks for a £150 million Global Centre for Rail Excellence (GCRE) project at the top of the Dulais Valley and in South Powys creating high quality jobs with additional employment from large contracts in the construction phase; and

* A new three storey Technology Centre at Baglan which could be part of a much wider £47 million scheme if the Welsh Government approve a City Deal Low Carbon business case submitted in January of this year. The new facility will be adjacent to the existing Hydrogen Centre, technology which is integral to the Council’s strategy and widely tipped as a key driver for a green recovery. 

Council Leader, Councillor Rob Jones, said:

“Today‘s decisions demonstrate that whilst the Council has focused on responding to the pandemic in recent months, a great deal of work has also been advanced to deliver a pipeline of projects to sustain the recovery of the local and regional economies. The Council’s Cabinet will consider a comprehensive Recovery Strategy later this week – and the economy will be at the centre of it.”

Councillor Jones also stressed that the consent in respect of the Neath Town Centre scheme was a big step forward to delivering on his administration’s commitment to the town. 

Deputy Leader, Councillor Ted Latham, added:

“The GCRE project represents a substantial investment in our Valley communities and the Welsh Government has submitted a compelling outline business case for UK Government support given the national benefits of the project to the rail industry. If the UK government are serious about their often quoted agenda of regional levelling up, they should approve it without delay. We are shovel ready and there is no time to delay in the current circumstances”.

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