Cwmbran is located in the Southeast corner of Wales, around twenty miles from the capital city of Cardiff. It is unique in the region, as it is the first and only designated new town in South Wales. Since its designation, the town has grown and developed and is now a thriving location, with nearly 50,000 inhabitants.
In 1949, the then Minister for Town and Country Planning, John Silken, designated an area of 31,000 acres surrounding the village of Cwmbran to be the first new town in Wales. Unlike the first generation new towns, the aim of Cwmbran was to provide housing and a range of facilities for those employed in existing industry but who lived in poor housing in the neighbouring valleys.
A master plan was implemented to achieve the objective for the town. However, as the town developed, the projected size of the town had to increase and many of the plans ideals were diluted as the Southwest expansion area was approved in 1977.
In fact, due to the planned nature of Cwmbran, there now exists few opportunities for new development within the town. This has meant intense development pressure on the outskirts of Cwmbran from house builders and developers.
However, the earlier stages of development were not without their problems, for example, the aesthetic qualities and design were often not being met due to the fast pace of development. The contemporary mono-pitched housing in Coed Eva won many awards for original design that is not now regarded fashionable. Despite these difficulties, many of the original principles remain intact, such as the high level of open and recreational space, and the provision of community and retail facilities at the core of each of the original neighbourhoods.
Although housing has encountered problems in Cwmbran, industry and employment has prospered in the town. Cwmbran has a solid manufacturing base, with particular strengths in engineering, together with automotive and electronic component manufacture. Increasingly, IT and information- related industries are being targeted. Llantarnam Park, to the south of the town centre is one of the region’s most prestigious industrial locations. It is home to a number of prominent companies such as Loseley, Hempel, and Spear Europe.
Cwmbran has also prospered from having a vibrant retail core. The Shopping Centre has a fully pedestrianised, multi purpose centre with covered shopping malls. There are over 170 retail outlets covering a total area of 700.000 sq. ft, including a number of popular high street retailers, restaurants, a theatre and cinema. Accordingly, the town is now considered to be a sub regional centre, and the intention is that this retail focus will be increased by regeneration of the eastern side of the town.
Now 50 years on parts of the town are in need of renovation. Through various public and private partnerships the aim of the Cwmbran Project Team is to set out a 15 year strategy for the regeneration and development of the new town, and begin its implementation.
For further information on the regeneration of Cwmbran contact Urban Regeneration on 01633 648072.
Cwmbran Project Examples
The canal is also the focus of other European funded projects including the Interreg Crosscut project. Through Crosscut a comprehensive Canal Management Plan has been produced. This study looks at the ecology, recreation, access, landscape, education and interpretation of the canal and how it can be managed in a sustainable way.
Torfaen is the lead partner is a transnational project submitted under Interreg 111B (ERDF). The project provides baseline material and allows implementation of small pilot schemes, such as environmental improvements at Fairwater. The project began in 2003 and the New Towns involved are from across England, Netherlands and France.
Cwmbran Town Centre Masterplanning
Cwmbran town centre has been the main focus of growth for Torfaen County Borough since its new town designation in 1949. In 2003 the Council began to examine the uses, pressure and opportunities of the town centre along with the views and aspirations of stakeholders in order to deliver a vision for the town centre. Consultants GVA Grimley were appointed to assist in the task and in February 2005 published a report entitled ‘The Future Development of Cwmbran Town Centre Torfaen Local Development: Planning Policy Options Paper’.
Following consultation on the Options Paper, Torfaen Council is now working on a Pre Deposit Local Development Plan entitled 'Draft Plan for Cwmbran Town Centre', which will ensure that the town centre is developed in a holistic and sustainable way. The document will identify the land uses that are acceptable in certain areas and provide general development advice such as design considerations. This document will form part of the Local Development Plan for Torfaen. In order to facilitate the development of the town centre the Council is preparing the Pre Deposit Framework document in advance of the Deposit Local Development Plan. Once the Draft Framework document is approved by Cabinet a six week consultation period during the summer of 2007 is planned.
Local Shopping Centres
The shopping centres have played an important part in the local community in Cwmbran. However, the buildings are showing their age. The Council has commissioned a study of each of the areas to identify opportunities and provide a masterplan for their future improvement. The study will provide ideas for environmental improvements as well as design guidance to ensure a coherent approach to the development of each local centre
Cwmbran Operational Group
A partnership set up with Cwmbran and Croesyceiliog and Llanyrafon Community Councils to deliver a programme of local regeneration projects and environmental improvements that assist in the delivery of the Torfaen Regeneration Strategy.
Last Modified: 12/04/2022
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