Past will be restored as new supermarket wins go-ahead
THE future has overcome the past in the Upper Swansea Valley as a new supermarket is given the green light.
Neath Port Talbot councillors have given Asda planning permission for a new store near Ystalyfera, despite the development taking place on the site of a former 19th century iron works.
Preliminary work on the 23,267 sq ft store and petrol station, set to bring 230 new jobs, revealed an important archeological discovery in the form of the remains of boiler rooms, an engine house, blast furnaces and an impressive stone charging bank wall.
Work at the former Dewhurst factory site, in Glanyrafon, was held up for several months while the Dyfed Archaeological Trust carried out an in-depth survey which fully unearthed the relics of the area's industrial past.
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Despite local calls for the area to be turned into a tourist attraction the supermarket has been allowed to continue with the build provided it restores and preserves the charging bank wall and erects signs around the site informing the public of its importance.
Neil Maylan, of the Dyfed Archaeological Trust, who led the excavation and reported back to the council, welcomed the move.
He said: "I think it's a balanced decision. We have lost a little bit of the archeological site but we have gained a great deal in the preservation of the charging bank wall. If it wasn't for this development there wouldn't have been any money to conserve the wall and in time it would have fallen down."
Asda property communications manager Oliver Jones said: "We are delighted with the decision and very much look forward to bringing Asda to Ystalyfera shoppers.
"Aside from the shopping offer, the creation of up to 230 new local jobs has the potential to materially improve the economic outlook for a great many local households.
"Throughout the planning process, we have remained aware of the archaeological interest on the site and are very pleased that its history will be honoured as an integral part of the overall development. The project is designed to respect what has gone before while looking forward to the opportunities available to prospective new shoppers and colleagues."
Other concerns over possible flooding and the affect on the highways were discredited by the councillors on the advice of planning officer Nicola Pearce.