High street

A high street rescue campaign led by several of the UK’s leading retailers has moved into Wales, following concern that previous strategies, including the government’s Mary Portas-led pilots, had ignored the country’s problems.

Business in the Community announced this week that four Welsh towns - Carmarthen, Prestatyn, Swansea and Wrexham - are to get a package of support under its Healthy High Streets campaign.

The Co-operative Group, Boots, Marks & Spencer and Santander will co-ordinate the campaign, which is seeking to help 100 high streets across the UK by aiming to increase footfall by 10%, reducing empty property units by 20% and creating 3,000 jobs over a three-year period.

In an earlier recruitment drive this year, 29 towns across England and Scotland were selected for Healthy High Streets. Each town now has a unique action plan that will help them drive footfall, occupy vacant properties and ultimately create jobs.

The towns also get a bespoke package of support tailored to the needs of their high streets, and engagement with senior business leaders involved with the retailers backing the campaign.

The campaign backers will also parachute in a local business leader to help retailers in the towns hit targets, and they will pour in resources from BITC and the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC).

“A lot has been said about the future of Welsh high streets and the important role they play at the heart of communities across Wales,” said Rosie Sweetman, the director of Business in the Community in Wales.

“Our campaign enables big business to be part of the solution. I’m therefore delighted that our partners are committed to working in Wales and helping our towns to have vibrant high streets we can be proud of.”