A £21 million proposal to transform the Elan Valley’s leisure and sport facilities, nature activities and visitor accommodation is the first project as part of the Mid Wales Growth Deal to move to the next stage.

The growth deal is a partnership to bring a combined UK and Welsh Government investment of £110 million to Mid Wales, in collaboration with Powys County Council and Ceredigion County Council.

An estimated £12.6 million of the total fund would be given towards the Elan Valley Lakes project – under which Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru would invest in facilities for leisure, sport and nature activities, and visitor accommodation.

However, the project has since grown significantly and, if successful, would now also receive funding from the Mid Wales Growth Deal, Dwr Cymru and other private sector investment – pushing the total to £21.7 million.

The proposal would include improving the quality of the visitor experience at the Elan Valley and to limit the impact on the environment through low carbon amenities and infrastructure, using renewable energy sources.

County Times:  Pen y Garreg Dam Tower at Elan Valley. Pen y Garreg Dam Tower at Elan Valley.

Water sports, EV charging points and connections for hydro power to supply the Elan Valley Trust’s assets could be included.

At its meeting on April 19, the Growing Mid Wales Board backed the Elan Valley Lakes’ outline business case – the first of eight projects in the region to advance to the next stage of development.

“We are pleased that the project has reached such an important stage as we aspire to deliver a flagship destination in Mid Wales,” said Martin Driscoll, a spokesperson for the Elan Valley Lakes project and a director at Welsh Water.

“This project aims to enhance visitor experience, increase revenue and sustain the natural beauty and environment of the Elan Valley.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Mid Wales Growth Deal team to make this happen.”


A spokesperson for the Growing Mid Wales Board added: “We were pleased to approve the outline business case for this project; it is an exciting milestone to be the first project to reach this step with the Mid Wales Growth Deal so far.

“There is a lot of work to do on the project and we will do what we can to see the growth deal investment leveraged to its full potential.

“Mid Wales is already on the map in terms of outdoor adventure, however, this investment could drive further improvements to the sector while keeping conservation and sustainability as key priorities.

“The creation of new facilities and assets will help draw in more visitors to Mid Wales, creating jobs directly – but also in the wider visitor economy, giving more reasons for people to visit and stay in Mid Wales, supporting a greater variety of jobs in the leisure, retail and hospitality industry in the region.”

The project is now poised to progress towards the completion of a full business case – the final step required to secure funding.

County Times:  Elan Valley from above. Picture by Shen Nel Drape. Elan Valley from above. Picture by Shen Nel Drape.

The Elan Valley Lakes project will now need to demonstrate that it is ready to enter into the procurement phase. Final approval is essential for the release of growth deal funding.

There are eight projects in total included in proposals to regenerate Mid Wales – three in Powys and five in Ceredigion.

The other two Powys projects concern the Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth and the Montgomery Canal – each project would be granted an estimated £24m in funding.

The Mid Wales Growth Deal was finalised in January 2022. The eight projects selected cover a range of investment proposals across digital, tourism, agriculture food and drink, research and innovation and supporting enterprise.

The aim, by 2032, is to create between 1,100 and 1,400 new jobs in Mid Wales; support an uplift of between £570-£700m for the Mid Wales economy; and deliver a total investment of up to £400m in it.