About Torfaen



Torfaen County Borough Council is the fifth smallest borough in Wales and is situated just north of the M4 corridor bordered by Monmouthshire, Newport, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent. Torfaen is also the third most densely populated local authority area in Wales and has a population of over 92,000 with 18 Electoral Wards represented by 40 councillors. The current political make-up is 29 Labour, 5 The Independent group, 3 Torfaen Independent group, and 3 Individual Independents.

Torfaen covers a varied, 12-mile-long valley, running from Blaenavon in the north to Cwmbran in the south. In common with the other Welsh valleys, the area has a great iron, steel and coal mining heritage. It is easily accessible from both east and west along the M4 corridor with Cardiff and Bristol within a 30-minute drive. The nearby M50 links south Wales to the Midlands and North and the A465 connects to the south Wales Valleys. Torfaen is also well served by public transport with rail links to the Manchester and London main lines and stations in Cwmbran and Pontypool.

Blaenavon was established to exploit the coal and iron resources in the area. Characterised by a dramatic environment rich in cultural and historic assets, and ecological diversity, the cultural landscape around Blaenavon was inscribed by UNESCO as one of only four Welsh World Heritage Sites in 2000. Attracting thousands of visitors each year, the area has many important heritage features linked to its industrial past. The dramatic natural environment and proximity to the Brecon Beacons National Park also brings many walkers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts to the area.

Pontypool is located at the centre of Torfaen and was built around industrial wealth with a strong claim to be the first ‘industrial town’ in Wales. Between the 1700s and 1900s the area thrived as a major centre for iron and tin-plated ‘Japanware’ products, and a bustling market town emerged. Today, Pontypool is known for its distinctive architectural heritage, its listed park and Italian gardens, its Victorian market and a strong sense of community spirit.

Based around a network of older villages, Cwmbran was designated the first New Town in Wales in 1949. It was designed as a distinctive and modern town offering new opportunities for its residents. The name Cwmbran comes from the Welsh for ‘Valley of the Crow’. Cwmbran Shopping is the main retail centre attracting visitors from far afield and with its bus and train station, the town centre acts as Torfaen’s main public transport hub. Cwmbran remains a popular place to live, providing a successful town centre, excellent road and transport links, a high-quality natural environment and varied employment opportunities.

Torfaen CBC operates under a Leader and Cabinet (Executive) governance model; Council determines the Authority’s policy framework and budget and other constitutional functions, Cabinet comprises eight elected members, who each have lead responsibility for an area of the Council’s business.