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‘It’s not as if it’s quiet. They get a lot of footfall’: Community councillors criticise decision to close Barclays in Cwmbran

a community hall
Woodland Road Sports & Social Centre

Councillors at Croesyceiliog & Llanyrafon Community Council are writing to Barclays following the bank’s decision to close its branch in the town centre. Councillors said it was ‘”frustrating” that the bank was closing in a “town of 60,000 people.”

They met last night at Woodland Road Sports and Social Centre and the bank was an item on their agenda.

Councillor Stewart Matthews, Croesyceiliog North and chair of the Community Council, said the bank “goes on’ about “keeping things local” yet the nearest branch will be in “Risca or Newport” for Cwmbran residents. He said: “I don’t think it’s good enough. If one bank goes, the rest of them will go.”

They felt the letter to customers could have been clearer regarding how they intend to be “part of your community.” One paragraph in the letter said: “We’ll still be part of your community in Cwmbran- we’re just finalising the details of when and where we’ll be based to support you with your banking but in the meantime we’re keen to hear what you think.”

Councillor Colin Crick, Croesyceiliog South, said the council should write to the bank to “object” and “express regret and grave concern” over the decision. He added: “It’s not as if it’s quiet, they get a lot of footfall.”

Councillor David Williams, Llanyrafon West, said with the rise of scams and cyber security fears many customers simply wanted the “assurance of dealing with somebody face to face.”

Councillor Darrell Dewar, Llanyrafon East, said: “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist that it’s the cost.” He said the bank should be “honest with people” and say they can’t “afford to be in the town centre.”

Other items on the agenda

Torfaen Voluntary Alliance

Patrick Downes from Torfaen Voluntary Alliance gave a presentation and answered questions on their work. He said they focus on four areas:

  1. Engagement and influencing
  2. Funding
  3. Volunteering
  4. Governance 

Caroline Andrews said she was the new Opening Doors project officer at TVA. It’s a project to give help and  grants to encourage more people to use community venues in Torfaen.

The TVA is “mapping” all venues in the area on the Connect Torfaen site to make it easy for people to find out what’s going on near their home. Patrick said they want it to be the “one site for everything in Torfaen” and similar to an “old school newsagent shop window”.

Councillors said they had concerns about digital exclusion and some older people not having access to IT and being unable to travel. Caroline said that Opening Doors aims to “make things more local”.

Councillor Williams suggested they could find and support “older digital champions to encourage and support older people to get online.”

Arts Project

At a previous Business Planning meeting Cllr Nigel Davies, Croesyceiliog North, suggested they work with  Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre and Torfaen Museum Trust on a project to “promote creativity in the community.” Councillors supported the idea and said it would be “artwork in the broadest sense of the word” so could be work like photography or paintings.


The community council has worked with Gwent Police to hand out 723 packs of Smartwater to residents in the community council’s area this year. Smartwater is a liquid that you use to mark belongings in your home and it is uniquely identifiable to you.

The police have suggested more leafleting and drop-in sessions at  Woodland Road & Llanyrafon Social Centre on the following dates :

  • 24 August
  • 25 August
  • 1 September
  • 6 September

One councillor said there are 4,500 homes in Croesceiliog and Llanyrafon and “it would be nice if half of them took it up” and claimed a free pack of SmartWater.



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‘It’s not as if it’s quiet. They get a lot of footfall’: Community councillors criticise decision to close Barclays in Cwmbran