Calls for measures to regenerate High Streets following devastating news of Debenhams

Local Member of the Welsh Parliament, Laura Anne Jones, has called on the Welsh Government to prioritise the regeneration of our town and city centres following the news that Debenhams stores across Wales are to close.

Laura Anne Jones said:

“The closure of Debenhams stores across our country, following a take over from Boo-Hoo, means a loss of hundreds of jobs and will deal a severe blow to communities such as Newport where Debenhams is the pivotal store within Friars Walk.”

“This would obviously be devastating enough, but during this pandemic, the knock on effects of these closures will be felt even harder.”

“It comes at a time when Businesses in Wales remain in a precarious position and are suffering immense damage caused by the pandemic, despite grants”

“Figures produced by the Welsh Retail Consortium reveal that almost one in five shops in Wales are now empty.”

“The vacancy rate increased from 15.9% to 18% in the third quarter of last year, the largest jump anywhere in the UK.”

“Big Shop closures, such as Debenhams, have a big impact on local communities with lost jobs and our High Streets looking run down and blighted.”

“Friars Walk in Newport is a relatively new development, a very welcomed development, when first brought there, by the then Conservative-led Newport Council and has been diminishing year on year under bad management, and now they have lost their ‘Jewel in the crown’ – which will now require urgent investment and a robust urgent plan from this Government and Newport Council to save our City Centre, and peoples livelihoods.”

“The Welsh Government must act and outline what measures it will take, such as lowering business rates, to create a recovery plan that puts retail at the forefront and regenerates our town and city centres.”

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