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Supporting our high streets

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A distinctive building in Colwyn Bay will be given a new lease of life thanks to Welsh Government and EU funding.

We recognise the important role our town centres play and we are committed to ensure their sustainable future.

One of the main challenges facing communities is the decline of the traditional high street. This is often characterised as a threat to independent retailers, but recent high-profile crises for multiples have reminded us that changing shopping habits, in particular increasing online and out-of-town purchases, combined with falling disposable incomes, cause difficulties.

Our vision is for diversified town centres in which retail constitutes a key element of the offer which is supported by learning, health and leisure facilities providing multiple reasons for town centre footfall.

How we are supporting local high streets and town centres

Our regeneration programme is supporting town centres across Wales, and includes:

These schemes form a key part of the package of Welsh Government support aimed at developing vibrant and sustainable town centres.

Targeted Regeneration Investment

Through our new flagship Targeted Regeneration Investment (TRI) programme (2018-21) we are providing capital funding of £100m across Wales over three years to support regeneration projects in town centres and neighbouring areas.

Building for the Future

Our European funded Building for the Future regeneration programme (2017-23) is providing £54m funding support to acquire, refurbish or re-develop unused buildings and land within or close to town/city centres across West Wales and the Valleys.

Town Centre Loan Fund 

Our Town Centre Loans (TCLs) scheme has provided £27.5m since 2014 to help bring empty, underused sites and premises in town centres back into use. This funding will be recycled three times and attract private finance so that the overall total impact will be much greater than just the initial funding.

BIDs

We are providing funding to help town centre businesses work together to boost their local economy. BIDs bring together businesses and other stakeholders in a defined geographical area, so they can develop projects and activities which will help boost the local economy.

Vibrant and Viable Places

Our Vibrant and Viable Places invested £124m between 2014-17 to support capital regeneration investment in town centres and elsewhere (including initiatives to bring empty properties back into use). This funding levered in signifiacnt further investment thus providing a huge boost to communities all over Wales.

Town Centre Partnerships

We delivered the Town Centre Partnerships (TCPs) programme which provided grant support of £847k to 20 partnerships across Wales. The aim of the fund was to increase town centre vibrancy by supporting activities that generate footfall, tackle empty sites and premises and support businesses to grow and prosper. A number of TCPs are considering the BID mechanism as a way of ensuring their longevity and we are providing support to those partnerships.

Business Rates

We have schemes in place for small businesses and retailers. Some premises will be exempt from business rates business rates (external link), while others may qualify for:

  • the small business rates relief scheme
  • the charitable and non-profit organisations rates relief
  • relief on empty properties
  • Wales Retail Relief 2015-16

Business Support

Business Wales (external link) provides business support to people starting, running and growing a business.

Car Parking

We are looking to improve our evidence base on the relationships between car parking charges and town centre footfall.