A MAJOR debate on the future of the Welsh high street has been held by the Conservatives.
Last month the party launched a policy document which advocated business rate reform, new planning guidance and a Tîm y Dref (town team) for each high street, all aimed at turning around recent decline in footfall.
Figures show footfall in Welsh town centres has declined by a fifth in the past five years, while empty or boarded up premises have become a more regular sight in Welsh high streets. AM Byron Davies, Shadow Minister for Transport and Regeneration, said: "The rise of internet shopping and the development of out of town shopping centres have undoubtedly had a negative impact on footfall in our local high streets."
Mr Davies added: "We need to make the high street a more attractive venue by providing accessible parking, improving marketing and management and creating conditions in which small independent businesses can thrive."