Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Plaid puts heart into town centre campaign

Plaid Cymru put its heart into saving our town centres this week as Clwyd West candidate Llyr Huws Gruffydd and honorary president Dafydd Wigley brought the campaign to the centres of Colwyn Bay, Abergele and Ruthin.

Plaid’s campaign “Town Centre Y of our community” is calling for action to reverse the trend over recent years that has seen local shops, banks, pubs and newsagents in town centres close down while large scale retailers have moved to out of town developments. Plaid Cymru say that all levels of government need to adopt policies that ensure a sustainable and healthy future for our town centres.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd said:

"Successive London governments have failed to stand up to big business, and have failed to protect our local town centre economies."

Plaid’s honorary president, Dafydd Wigley added that all levels of government need to work together in partnership with communities to ensure that town centre businesses have a viable future.

Plaid have outlined a number of proposals to put town centres back at the heart of our communities including:

· the extension of credit union principles to support small and medium sized businesses
· a change in planning regulations to promote sustainable communities
· a mandatory retail impact assessment with each major planning development
· a level playing field for smaller, local businesses

Plaid's Clwyd West candidate Llyr Huws Gruffydd said:

“We need to restate that town centres are not only an essential part, but also the heart, of our communities and should be protected and enhanced. So much influence and power is vested in the larger retailers, many of which have moved to out of town developments. The resulting reduction of footfall in town centres has had a detrimental effect and has caused many local businesses to close.

“I believe that the Plaid proposals will go some way towards reversing this trend and redress the balance. The Westminster parties have failed Wales once more, with London governments failing to create a level playing field for smaller, local companies. Plaid's measures will help to change things around, and give local businesses the support they need to make town centres viable again.”

Dafydd Wigley, who went to school in Colwyn Bay, added:

“Town centres have an invaluable role to play. Not only are they important in terms of attracting visitors, they are also play a vital social role. Many of the most vulnerable people in our communities are unable to access the large out of town developments and rely heavily on smaller, local shops.

“We all need to work together to ensure that our town centres have a viable future. Local councils, the Assembly government and the UK government must all take steps, but this won’t achieve anything if the community itself doesn’t get involved and support our local, town centre businesses.

"The UK government needs to work together with the Welsh and local government to introduce policies to sustain our town centres. For too long the London government has left small businesses to fend for themselves while they prop up big business. Despite bailing out the banks, many small businesses are unable to secure the credit they need to survive.

"This cannot be allowed to continue and this is why Plaid is calling for action now to put our town centres back at the heart of our communities.”

PHOTO: Llyr Huws Gruffydd and Dafydd Wigley in Colwyn Bay.

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