Leader Series October 6, 1972



THE DISAPPEARING COMMUNITY

Just outside the Town of Cwmbran, population 42,000, a small village with some 70 houses sits snugly on the valley side. Tentacles of development have for years crept closer and closer.
Last week the people of the village learned that this encroachment may, in a very short time, become total absorption
Under draft proposals published by Cwmbran Development Corporation, Henllys would become and "envelope" within an expanding New Town area. 6,900 people would be living on the doorstep.
The 'LEADER' has been taking a look at Henllys' highly individual community to see how life there compares with life in the Town that may eventually take it over
Not surprisingly, the villagers believe that it compares very
favourable. If Henllys becomes an island in a sea of housing estates most of the things they value will disappear.
"It's a beautiful spot up here. It would be a terrible shame to spoil it," says Bert Calder, Landlord of The Dorallt, Henllys' only pub.

Meeting Place

The Dorallt is at the centre of Henllys and its social life. If you're accepted at the pub will be accepted in the Village.
Its uniquely friendly atmosphere is similarly reflective of the open hearted community as a whole.
It is this that the villagers fear losing.
"You only have to look at Old Cwmbran to see what will happen here," said Mr David Polly who works in the town.
"It's dead now and it was the New Town that killed it"

Newcomer
Mrs Elizabeth Evans is a newcomer to Henllys, but having also lived in a Corporation house in Cwmbran she can articulate what the true locals take for granted.
" This is a close, friendly farming community, where you can still keep your privacy and have time to breath" she says.
" I am a busy person with three children to look after. But there's not the sense of urgency here that I always felt in Cwmbran".
Though you were so close there was no time to stop and chat and none of the great community spirit you find in Henllys".

Thriving

An important focus of this community spirit is the local primary school, which has a thriving P.T.A. and stimulates interest in school activities well beyond the families who have children attending.
The youngsters, too, reciprocate by showing interest in the pensioners who live in the knot of council chalets at Sunnybank.
A woman institute group is also active with its headquarters at the old Community Hall.

Improvements

Some local residents would like to see improvements in the village, which would certainly come with development in the neighbourhood.
The playing fields and new Community Hall which villagers have been campaigning for would arrive naturally. Social life for the young would improve.
But facilities are not everything as Mrs Evans points out.
"Shops and better roads, streetlights, and bus services might all be an improvement. But I value space and time more than these things.

Social progress usually brings social problems, and the people of Henllys know that what large personal housing estates can mean.
Up here we never have fights between neighbours, or cars pinched, or trouble in the pub. There is very little vandalism," said Mr Polley.
Parish Councillor Fred Banfield values the village enough to want to protect it. The village was sheltered by a "green belt" so long as private development was interested in the Henllys area, and the people felt safe. " We think these plans are unfair and we are going to have a go at stopping them" he told the LEADER.
But hardly a soul in Henllys has any hope of beating the Corporation.
Farmer and milkman Mr Roger Lewis anticipates a compulsory purchase order on his land at sometime in the future.
"If we had a fair crack at the whip it wouldn't be so bad" he says expecting the worse
In a few years houses will probably stand where his cattle are grazing.

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Roger Lewis is the local milkman. He also owns 17 acres of farmland, which the Development Corporation may want to buy. He has seen other farms disappear and knows what to expect from the corporation. Legal robbers he calls them.


 Henllys, a peaceful rural community with a character very much of its own. Situated to the south west of Cwmbran. The people who live here are country folk born and bred in the village. Or they are "foreigners," townspeople with a taste for the friendliness, space and time to themselves they can never find in the town.
If the Development Corporation plans are approved the housing estates of Cwmbran new town will soon be lapping round Henllys' ancient cottages.


Henllys Parish Councillor Fred Banfield, foreground, calls himself a "stirrer". He works for the Development Corporation in Cwmbran but the proposals to extend the new town to Henllys came as much a shock to him as to the rest of the village.
Bert Calder, landlord of the 400-year-old Dorallt Inn claims an atmosphere in his pub unlike any other. How long will this atmosphere survive if Henllys becomes just another part of Cwmbran, he asks
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