Alert Section

Town Centre Regeneration

Nationally, town centres are facing challenging economic circumstances due to changing behaviour by shoppers and the retail industry.  The 2018 retail review by Colliers International found that shoppers have gradually been shifting their retail expenditure from local town centres to higher order retail centres, out of town shopping parks, major supermarkets and, increasingly, to the internet.  In turn, retail businesses have significantly retrenched into a smaller and smaller number of the most dominant centres.

These trends were accelerated by the financial crisis of 2007/8 with the loss of many high street brand names, but there had been a gradual process taking place over several decades prior to that. In addition, this has been further compounded by the withdrawal of retail banking services from high streets as banks respond to customer preferences for internet and telephone banking options.

Although Flintshire’s town centres have not been immune to this process, the loss of major national chains and the increase in vacant floor space has not been as significant an issue as Flintshire’s towns had very few national brands still present and Woolworth’s was the only closure of significance.  The loss of high street banks has been more significant in several Flintshire towns.  Declining High Street vitality has, in turn, impacted on the scale and vitality of the street markets in the County.

The Town Centre Regeneration Programme
The Programme will help the towns in Flintshire to adapt successfully and sustainably to a changing world; economically, socially and environmentally.

The priorities for the Programme are to:

  1. Respond proactively to market interest in town centre investment and will actively seek to encourage investment wherever there are appropriate opportunities;
  2. Continue to support front line service outlets in town centre locations to enable access to Council (and partner) services whilst also helping to sustain footfall;
  3. Implement Local Development Plan policies for town centres that enable land use change to be managed to promote sustainability and vitality
  4. Identify key sites for future redevelopment with an emphasis on diversifying land use to increase sustainability and vitality;
  5. Start, subject to the availability of capital resources and detailed investigation into commercial viability, to acquire key sites for redevelopment;
  6. Target vacant or underused properties in town centres for intervention including making full use of Council enforcement powers;
  7. Support the growth of community asset ownership and community enterprise in town centres;
  8. Take advantage of potential investment in transport infrastructure by Welsh Government to identify how wider regeneration benefits can be realised in the immediate vicinity;
  9. Support town centre stakeholder groups to develop and implement action plans for their towns and will undertake County-wide actions to support town centres for example through promotional activity;
  10. Help businesses to adapt to the changing economic climate;
  11. Actively seek external funding opportunities to deliver the Programme; and
  12. Increase the monitoring of town centre vitality.