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The Future of Our Town Centres

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Powys County Council are hosting a four-week engagement exercise with residents, businesses and visitors to collate local insights into how they would like to shape the future of the region’s town centres post-pandemic.

Business News Wales spoke to Councillor Heulwen Hulme of Powys County Council, who is heading up this engagement exercise to explain more about the reasoning behind it, and what she and the council hope to positively affect once the views of the region have been heard:

The pandemic and the social distancing restrictions it has forced local authorities to implement have affected high streets and town centres across the country. But smaller town centres such as in Crickhowell, Brecon, Hay on Wye and Newtown have been the most severely affected – a concerning factor, with perhaps these town centres being the most crucial components of the local economy within the Powys region.

The council acknowledged that the lockdown had an immediate impact on the way in which their town centres operated, with many businesses adapting the way in which they have worked to ensure that their local communities were provided with the services and goods they needed throughout the pandemic.

Therefore, temporary social distancing measures were put in place following council discussions with representatives from each of the region’s town centres to enable the continued facilitation of business trading.

Powys County Council highlighted that the temporary measures have demonstrated that town centres can evolve and make use of the highway space differently. The council also say that the pandemic has given rise to an element of café culture being experienced within Powys’ towns and an enthusiasm for embracing its outside areas, which is something that might be considered appropriate to retain post-pandemic restrictions.

You can find further information and guidance on how to take part in this initial engagement exercise into the future of Powys’ town centres by visiting: www.haveyoursaypowys.wales.