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The bandstand in Cwmbran town centre: Information on the consultation and planning decision

a bandstand being taken apart
The bandstand in Gwent Square being removed

Work has started to remove the bandstand in Cwmbran town centre as part of improvements to Gwent Square. These photos have been taken from Gwent House, overlooking Gwent Square.

Over the last week several Facebook posts have attracted comments from residents who are upset that it is being taken down. Cwmbran Life has checked back and found that the plans and artist’s impressions for the area were put on display in a shop and the public was invited in to make comments.

In 2017 this story in the South Wales Argus publicised a two-day public consultation being carried out by the previous owners of the town centre, M&G Real Estate. The Argus reported: “Other aspects of the proposals include improvements to drainage and the removal of the old bandstand with an aim of opening up the spaces to help host community events.”

a bandstand being taken apart
Photo from Gwent House showing the bandstand during its removal

In 2018, M&G Real Estate submitted a planning application for a variety of ‘environmental improvements’ following the consultation. The application was approved for:

– Recladding the Congress Theatre, House of Fraser, the library, the public house and Monmouth House. This would include a variety of cladding materials and colours. The theatre would include silver aluminium cladding with ‘Congress Theatre’ in large lettering. House of Fraser would include a gold metal perforated façade. The library would include wood panelling. Monmouth House would include blue powder coated cladding.
– Repaving
– Replacing the existing bandstand structure with a more modern tensile roof structure canopy
– Landscaping, to include new street furniture, planters and lighting
– Introduction of decking at the upper level of the square

The minutes for the planning committee said:

  • The tradition bandstand would be replaced with a modern canopy structure, however it would still provide shelter for events to take place.

  • The Congress Theatre were in support of the application as they felt that it could help their viability.

  • The structure replacing the bandstand would be situated in a different location to give the theatre more visibility.

Councillors asked questions and the minutes said:

  • The clock and statues on the front of the Congress Theatre building were due to be removed.

  • The Clock no longer worked and it was noted that the statues were not originally part of the façade.

  • The Conservation Officer had confirmed that neither the clock nor statues had any historic value.

  • The mechanism for the clock was inside the theatre and by removing the clock it would free up space inside the theatre for more seats.

  • Public Consultation had been carried out and lots of people were in support of the proposal.

The minutes noted that one shop in Gwent Square had objected because of concerns regarding the disruption to their business whilst the works were undertaken. This was in the context of the entire work that was given planning permission, not just the removal of the bandstand.

Cwmbran Centre was sold by M&G Real Estate to the LCP Group in January 2022. Cwmbran Life will follow up and find out if they plan to carry out any of the other improvements that were approved in the original planning application.

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The bandstand in Cwmbran town centre: Information on the consultation and planning decision