PLANS for a new activities centre and café at Pontymoile basin, on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal near Pontypool, have been recommended for approval despite more than 70 objections to the proposal.

The existing toilet block would also be demolished as part of the plan.

The application submitted by the Canal and River Trust says the proposed development is aimed at improving non-motor powered activities on the canal, such as paddle boarding and canoeing.

However, of the 73 objections to the application, many raised concerns over the loss of the existing barge café business.


One respondent said that the current set up “adds character and is attractive to visitors, locals and tourists” and said, “don’t spoil it”.

Another said that local businesses should be supported, and the current café should be retained.

Other objections included asking questions over the necessity of an activities centre, traffic on Fountain Road, and the proposed look of the new facilities.

The proposal has been put forward by the Canal and River Trust in conjunction with Torfaen and Caerphilly County Borough Councils.

The three organisations have been successful in bidding for funding from the Welsh European Funding Office to provide an activity hub at the site.

If approved, the project will see the demolition of an existing toilet block on land west of the Telephone Exchange, and a new building on the site.

The application says that the “existing toilet block sits on the only viable part of the site”. The toilets will be replaced as part of the scheme.

The site currently has a café in the shape of a canal boat, picnic benches and toilets.

Services for boat users will also be provided in a dedicated part of the new building.

If approved, the café would be open from 9am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday.

It is not yet clear however when activities provided from the site would be available, as they could be provided by external companies.

In 2019, the Canal and River Trust secured more than £4 million of European Union funding for a programme called the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal Adventure Triangle, which included three projects centred around Pontymoile.

Included in that was a plan to develop an activities centre at Pontymoile with a view to attracting more visitors and locals to enjoy the canal and its surroundings.

The Pontymoile basin is the former junction of the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal and the Monmouthshire Canal from Pontymoile to Newport.

A decision will be made on whether to approve the application in a council planning meeting on Tuesday (May 11).