Torfaen County (Monmouthshire)

‘Mark One’ New Town – Designated 4 November 1949

Cwmbran was the first New Town to be designated in Wales and followed proposals made by Lewis Silkin in 1948 for two Welsh New Towns. Cwmbran included existing housing and industry and was partly constrained by existing railway lines and a canal. It was designed to provide housing for those employed in existing industry who travelled from the South Wales Valleys. It was thus an unusual ‘Mark One’ New Town in that it was designed to provide homes and not employment, and was to intended correct an existing imbalance rather create a new ‘balanced community’. Today, Cwmbran is the largest settlement in Torfaen County Borough and is well located, with good access to the M4 and the city coastal zone. It is considered by its current planners to be successful and popular.

Key facts:

  • Location: 8 kilometres north of Newport, 21 kilometres north east of Cardiff.
  • 2011 Census population: 48,535, in 20,495 households.
  • Local authority: Torfaen County Borough Council.
  • Local Plan status: Torfaen County Borough Local Development Plan (to 2021) (adopted 2013).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 4 November 1949.
  • Designated area: 1,279 hectares.
  • Intended population: 55,000 (population at designation: 12,000).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to provide houses for existing industry. The original masterplan was prepared by Anthony Minoprio with Spencely and Macfarlane – Minoprio had been the planner of Crawley New Town. Development Corporation wound up 31 March 1988.

Figures taken from Cwmbran ‘5 minute’ fact sheet – TCPA New Towns and Garden Cities, Lessons for Tomorrow research, available here.

Council website:

Information about regeneration:

Local museums and archives:

Torfaen Museum Trust Archives: