Betting and bargains at heart of our towns
12:00pm Saturday 26th January 2013 in News
Town centres in Pembrokeshire are changing, with more pound shops, charity shops and betting shops in increasingly prominent locations, but there was only a slight increase in shop vacancies last year.
Pembrokeshire County Council principal planning officer Sara Morris presented the findings of two studies on town centres to members of the economy overview and scrutiny last Thursday.
Statistics showed year-onyear increases for charity and betting shops, to a total of 29 charity shops from 22 in 2009, and 11 betting shops from nine, three years ago.
While the majority of town centres had a lower vacancy rate than the national average in Wales – which was 18.5% for the first half of 2012 – Pembroke Dock had above average A class unit vacancies at 19%.
The A classes are those traditionally associated with town centres and include shops, financial services and food and drink outlets.
Milford Haven had the second highest number of vacancies with 17% and Haverfordwest had 10%.
The study into the functional relationship of towns in Pembrokeshire, the Haven Wales Spatial Plan Area, identified key roles for each of the towns, including leisure and tourism, retail and transport.
The study found centres with a tourism role, such as Tenby, Saundersfoot, Narberth, St Davids and Pembroke, were holding up best and achieving “complementarity”.
Haverfordwest and Pembroke Dock posed a “bigger challenge”, because the town centres were not achieving their “key retail role” and “locational complementarity”
was being achieved with out-of-town shopping.
Ms Morris told members: “This study is there for you to consider. It offers food for thought.”