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High streets vital to local economy and community cohesion – Parrott

December 6, 2011 11:55 AM

Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Minister will lead a debate on Wednesday calling on the Welsh Government to do more to protect Welsh high streets.

Over the last decade, many town centres and high streets across Wales have been in decline as the number of people using them has decreased. This is having a detrimental effect on local economies and social cohesion.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Government to

Eluned Parrott, South Wales Central AM said:

"Town centres and high streets used to be the economic and social hubs of towns across Wales, but sadly they are now in decline. This is having a detrimental effect on local economies and community cohesion.

"Labour's inaction over the past decade has contributed to rundown communities across Wales as not enough support has been given to make high streets vibrant and prosperous. Town centres that are rundown - either because shops are abandoned or because facilities have not been regenerated - are simply less attractive places for people to spend time in.

"Another reason for this decline is the increasing emergence of out-of-town shopping centres. These provide many of the retail services that would normally be provided in town centres. As well as this, the rise in recent years of internet shopping has also drawn customers away from town centres, especially for buying entertainment products and general shopping.

"There are a number of policy changes that the Welsh government could effect in order to improve the viability of town centres - including improving their advice to authorities, making some changes to the planning system and helping Councils with regeneration.

"We live our lives in a different way to our parents and grandparents and out of town shopping centres have responded to that change, we now need to ensure that our town centres do the same.

"We should remember that high streets and town centres are more than just economic hubs, they also strengthen the social fabric of our communities."