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Questions raised about business record of Welsh adventure resort developer

Words: Roger Milne
Investigation / iStock-533045204

An investigation by The Guardian and ITV News, reported this week, has raised serious questions about the business track record of Gavin Woodhouse, the developer behind ambitious proposals for a £200 million Afan Valley Adventure Resort in South Wales, and his past financial behaviour.

The investigation alleges that Woodhouse has previously failed to deliver care home developments after raising millions from small private investors. It also claims that millions of pounds of  investors’ money, which should have been ringfenced, was transferred to a consulting company of which Woodhouse is the majority owner, and subsequently disappeared.

Neath Port Talbot Council gave outline planning approval for the scheme, which was to include a Bear Grylls instructor academy, in March.

In a statement sent to The Planner the council said: “These are very serious allegations being made against Mr Woodhouse and it is important that he addresses the concerns as a matter of urgency.

“During the assessment of the proposal, the council repeatedly raised concerns with regard to the business plan and supporting information provided and appropriate assurances were sought at every opportunity.

“Planning permission has not yet been fully granted for the Afan Valley Adventure Resort and remains conditional on further financial and legal obligations being met by the developer within a six-month deadline, which is due to expire in September 2019.

“Since the application came before councillors for discussion in March this year, the council has received little contact from the developer and no notable progress has been made to fulfil those conditions so far. “

The resort proposal looks like joining a slew of other recent ambitious Welsh projects which have failed to climb off the drawing board. These include the Circuit of Wales scheme, the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, a new nuclear power station on Anglesey and, earlier this month, the £1.6 billion M4 relief road at Newport was cancelled by First Minister Mark Drakewood.

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