Torfaen County Borough Council – Annual Audit Summary 2022
Bridgend County Borough Council – Performance Management Review
Bridgend County Borough Council – Annual Audit Summary 2022
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council – Annual Audit Summary 2022
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council – Annual Audit Summary 2022
Town centres are at the heart of Welsh life
Wales is a country of small interdependent towns, villages, and communities. There are 193 places in Wales with over 2,000 residences.
What’s the current situation?
Town centres can be vibrant and sustainable places but addressing the many challenges they face requires brave decisions and ambitious leadership.
Past policy choices, changing consumer expectations and technological advances are now adversely affecting many Welsh town centres. Fewer and fewer ‘essential services,’ such as post offices and banks, remain in town centres and 1 in every 7 shops on high streets in Wales is empty.
Also, non-domestic rates continue to make most town centres unattractive places to invest.
High streets are more than just retail, but this is often overlooked.
What has the Welsh Government done to support town centres?
Since 2014, the Welsh Government has invested just under £900 million to help regenerate town centres.
Businesses have been well supported during the pandemic too, but local authorities often lack the skills, capacity and resources to help create sustainable town centres, despite significant Welsh Government funding, even though they are key in managing and regenerating town centres.
Welsh Government has prioritised regeneration of town centres in the recovery from the pandemic, but needs to ensure the town centre first approach is central to its wider policy agenda.
Brave decisions are needed.