The Neath Port Talbot Council will no longer subsidise the cafe or visitor centre

A petition on gathered over 4,000 signatures under the belief that one of Afan‘s visitor centres was due to close.

The petition closed with 4,449 signatures which it gained in less than 24 hours. It had also been shared on social media by current women’s downhill World Champion, Manon Carpenter and actor Michael Sheen. It was closed following clarification of the situation by Neath Port Talbot council.

Currently the council operate the Afan Forest Park visitor centre and cafe (this is the old one, not the new one at Glyncorrwg Ponds) but due to a funding deficit it is unable to continue to support them.

The council says it is offering the staff “alternative employment opportunities” and that “there is interest from a number of experienced operators” to take over the running of the centre. The centre is the starting point for the Blue Scar, Penhydd and Y Wal trails.

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The petition argued that the visitor centre is “one of the few attractions that brings tourism to the area” and is essential to: “local businesses such as the Bryn Bettws lodge, Afan Lodge and the numerous bike instructors and trail guides that operate in the area.”

It seems that an amicable solution was reached however as Chris Blight, the cyclist who started the petition, said: “The Council has issued a press release to clarify their current position. Hopefully it means the centre will operate for years to come.”

Speaking to the South Wales Evening Post, Gareth Nutt, director of the environment at the council, said, “The aim is that the existing businesses currently operating from the visitor centre will be unaffected by any change of operator [of the cafe].”

You can find the petition here