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Supporting our high streets

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 Vibrant and Viable Places Programme is supporting the regeneration of town centres across Wales, and includes:

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

Vibrant and Viable Places

Local Authorities are sharing more than £100m for regeneration schemes from 2014 to 2017. The fund will be invested in town centers, coastal communities and Communities First areas. The fund will be invested in town centers, coastal communities and Communities First areas.

Business Improvement Districts

We are funding the development of nine BIDs proposals in Wales. 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.

Town Centre Loan Fund

The £5m Vibrant and Viable Places Town Centre Loans Fund is helping to support town centre regeneration in four areas of Wales.
A pilot scheme, the funding is shared equally between four local authorities, with Ceredigion, Powys, Pembrokeshire and Monmouthshire each receiving a loan of £1.25m.

Town Centre Partnerships

There are twenty Town Centre Partnerships being supported at a total cost of £845,157. The fund is supporting partnerships to encourage activities that help to:

  • increase footfall
  • increase public, private and community investment
  • reduce the impact of empty properties
  • support businesses and services to establish, grow and prosper
  • support diversification by promoting alternative uses (such as residential and leisure)
  • support innovative approaches to regeneration.

Additional support and activities

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.