Ambitious new plans have been revealed for a major leisure complex and regeneration scheme for the town of Merthyr Tydfil.
The plans outline two new hotels, spa and conference facilities, heritage walks and nature trails, the UK’s largest indoor water park, an international centre of excellence for snow sport which includes one of the longest indoor ski slopes in Europe, an indoor bike and skate park as well as new homes.
Marvel Limited acquired the near 600-acre site, located near the old mining town of Rhydycar West (west of Merthyr), in 2013.
The company has been working with local and national stakeholders for a number of years to develop a leisure-focused, mixed-use scheme for the site.
The aim is to build upon the success of a number of other schemes that have opened in Merthyr over recent years, including Bike Park Wales, Cyfarthfa Retail Park, Rock UK, and the new Trago Mills store due to open in 2018.
Other potential ideas that are being considered for the site include an equestrian centre, a mountain coaster, zip line, air park, log-cabin and yurt accommodation, as well as community facilities such as a playground, sports pitch and fishing ponds.
Initial estimates suggest the Rhydycar West scheme could deliver up to £450 million of capital investment to the area as well as 800 new long-term jobs.
Leigh Large, of Marvel Limited, said: “We have approached this scheme as a blank canvas and have spent extensive time and resource to understand in detail the unique ecological and heritage features of the site, and how we can design a scheme to work sensitively with these.
“We believe our scheme’s exciting sport and adventure facilities will attract more visitors to Merthyr, and the high-quality accommodation options will help keep them in the area for longer, addressing the current lack of local accommodation.
“Our plan is to help celebrate Merthyr’s rich industrial heritage and to ensure its long-term preservation; for example, we are currently working with Cadw to schedule several further ancient monuments on the site.”
“It is important to emphasize that the overall plans for the site are still in development. We will be consulting with the local community this autumn so we can deliver the best possible scheme for Merthyr.”
At 500 metres in length, the snow sport centre would be home to the longest indoor ski slope in the UK, far surpassing the 180m slope in Manchester.
Marvel Limited has signed an agreement with Snowsport Cymru Wales to work together on the delivery of the state-of-the-art snow sport facility which could be the future training base for the Team GB ski and snowboard team, which currently travels year-round to indoor ski centres elsewhere in Europe.
Robin Kellen, Chief Executive of Snowsport Cymru Wales said: “We have a great opportunity to use our natural resources in Wales to develop an indoor ski and snowboard facility that would provide year-round training facilities for Olympic athletes as well as local enthusiasts.
“Snowsport Cymru Wales has worked closely with the project development team for some time now to make sure we meet the long-term needs of the sport and ensure a sustainable business model for this project.”
Outline plans for the project will come forward for community consultation this autumn.