Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change
Towns across Wales should be places we can live, work, and play; where we can access services, shops, communal and cultural space and be the beating heart of Welsh communities. But town centres are in decline, driven by a range of factors including the increase in out-of-town development reliant on private car transport, the growth in online shopping and the withdrawal of essential services. The pandemic has added to these problems.
Today I am publishing a Town Centres Position Statement, which sets out the key challenges facing town centres and a series of actions aimed at addressing those challenges.
Regenerating our town centres is complex. To tackle the wide-ranging issues facing our town centres we must have a joint understanding of those issues. This position statement seeks to crystallise the key challenges facing our town centres. It recognises the Welsh Government is the key enabler through coordinated and consistent policy direction and the actions set out the foundations for change to enable local delivery. It complements our existing Programme for Government commitments and will re-emphasise how important vibrant and sustainable town centres are across Wales.
The position statement is the culmination of extensive collaboration across government and with key town centre stakeholders following the publication of Foundational Economy Research report Small Towns, Big Issues: aligning business models, organisation, imagination and the Audit Wales report: Regenerating Town Centres in Wales.
I would like to thank all those involved for their commitment and time, in particular members of the Ministerial Town Centre Delivery and Action Groups.
Our Transforming Towns programme has already begun to support the transformation of towns and our continued commitment of £100 million over three years will continue to be a catalyst for change to reinvent towns across Wales.
No one single action will have the impact needed, but a collective and concerted effort across the range of actions will help address the challenges and aim to regenerate and transform towns across Wales.
We will continue to work with our local authorities and town centre stakeholders to take forward the actions set out in the position statement.