South East Wales

Backing for Bridgend Island Farm ex-PoW camp plan

Island Farm sports village
Image caption The revised plans include a 15,000-seat rugby league stadium and separate rugby union and football stadia

Major plans for a multimillion-pound sports village on the site of a former prisoner of war (PoW) camp have been approved by Bridgend council.

Various schemes have been tabled previously at Island Farm, including a Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) sports academy.

A new application, including stadia for rugby league, rugby union and football, was backed by the council's planning committee on 24 June.

There is opposition, and it needs final approval from the Welsh Government.

Thirty-three councillors voted at a meeting on Monday, and 22 were in favour, 10 were against and one abstained.

A tennis centre with 10 outdoor courts and swimming pool are among the detailed plans.

'Massive manhunt'

The development control committee was recommended to approve the outline proposals on 24 June, but its report went on to say the decision should be referred to the full council for a final say.

Proposed developments for the 52-hectare (128 acres) site, off Merthyr Mawr Road, date back to 2002.

They have previously proved controversial with local residents, who have opposed schemes including a sports academy, hotel and restaurant and a residential development.

Many still have concerns about the new proposals on the site, which is a mix of mainly arable farmland with tree and scrub land to one side and grazing land to the other.

Part of the site was a prison of war camp which hit the headlines in 1945 when more than 70 German detainees escaped after digging a tunnel, leading to massive manhunt.

They escaped from Hut Nine, which is the only building which remains. It is a listed building.

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