We were thrilled to see such a positive turnout at the Voices of the Valley heritage tea, held on the 10th October at Croeserw Community Centre – thank you to those who attended and supported us on the day.
As our first community event, we believed there was no better way to mark the occasion than to celebrate the history of the Valley, its lifelong residents and industrial culture.
The Wildfox Resorts team and wider delivery group members (including representatives from our planning, architecture, construction and environment teams) had the chance to meet, listen and learn about your fondest memories, pictures and aspirations for the Valley. The team were moved by your willingness to share these with us and were left feeling a great sense of pride and inspiration.
Our special thanks to the Maesteg Gleeman who sang, smiled and shared their love for the Welsh language and local heritage too. We were even joined by the Mari Lwyd which we hope brings good luck for the next year!
We were also able to share the output of a recent initiative led by our planning consultants Stantec. Jane Hirst, Director of Planning, has been working with Cymer Afan Primary School to digitalise historic photo albums and preserve original photographs which were centuries old. Many attendees on the day saw images of their loved ones for the very first time – we hope this goes some way in keeping memories alive, and we would like to thank Cymer Afan for sharing these photographs with us.
Claire Pearce commented: “Wildfox Resorts are committed to creating genuine social value and ask that our consultants and delivery team work with us to achieve that. Can I take this opportunity to personally thank Jane and the Stantec team for investing in their time and resources to work with the school to enable these resources to be more accessible and resilient for them to share with future generations”.
Most importantly, this event offered the chance for the community to share any concerns and wishes for the delivery of the resort. We have written up the discussions and contributions from the breakout tables, which we have since reviewed and will reflect accordingly into outputs moving forward.
In addition to a long list of historical landmarks and places that hold a special meaning to the community, we have summarised key themes from the day’s discussions below.
Notes of support
Employment and workforce development – ensuring a positive approach to workforce retention including upskilling local communities, engagement with school children and offering opportunities for local businesses to benefit.
Landscape restoration – sensitively designing the Resort to fit within the natural environment and bringing trees back to the Valley.
Connectivity – improving access to cycle and walking routes, and supporting activities that are good for mental and physical health, specifically with younger generations.
Architecture – utilising natural materials such as Welsh slate and wood that is sourced locally, incorporating the Welsh language into the Resort and celebrating talent from local artists to local foods.
Community spirit – keeping updates on the Resort frequent and easy to find e.g., flyers and letter drops, aspiration for more gatherings and events to meet the team and support local facilities
We also appreciate that you may have concerns and queries about the Resort and we hope that this event proved a useful way of getting answers to these direct from the team.
Public Rights of Way – we apologise for any inconvenience the temporary closures are causing and we would like to reiterate that these are closed in the best interest of protecting residents and visitors whilst the site is an active construction zone. It remains under regular observation by our environmental team, with increased activity recommencing in Spring 2024. Temporary closures have been made in accordance with Neath Port Talbot County Borough under Section 14(1) of Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The map of affected routes can be found here - bbf489_7621cffebd16449d98fb2bc9608fd1b2.pdf (wildfoxresorts.com)
Transport – we appreciate that there are concerns about the future implications of traffic on the local road network. We have worked with transport specialists as part of the planning process to review this in detail, and as a result, have permission for two Resort entrances – one for visitors, and the second for staff and operations. We will be strongly encouraging visitors to use alternative transport means including rail and we are exploring how we can make this an attractive proposition for future customers.
Impact on the community – we discussed concerns including littering, public damage, visual impact and waste management. We reaffirm our awareness to these factors and take this into consideration with every decision we make. The masterplanning and design team are giving very careful consideration to these matters. The community and council also have a role to play in ensuring the local area outside of the resort is also maintained safely to create a welcoming environment for visitors. If you would like to speak to a team member on any new or existing matters, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our future plans for heritage involve understanding demand for a formal heritage project. This would likely be done in partnership with specialist organisations, and require consent for oral history, artefacts and photographic submissions. This would enable objects to be placed in an existing external archive.
Wildfox would not own the rights to the archive, but are happy to support the contribution of any entries into this in order to safeguard the history of the Valley and any significant possessions. We have already received several expressions of interest, but if you’d like to get involved, please do contact us.
To celebrate the outputs of this event, we will be publishing a video which includes clips of the day, interviews with members from the South Wales Miners Museum and comments from the Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council.