17/09/2010

The Welsh Clone Town list


Let's start with the positives. Bangor and Penarth (in that order) have the most distinctive and diverse high streets of the medium-sized towns in Wales, according to the latest survey conducted by the New Economics Foundation (story also covered by Caredig i Natur and the Western Mail).

The NEF this week published their survey of the extent to which towns have become filled with chain stores indistinguishable from anywhere else, labelling the worst offenders ‘Clone Towns’ and those with the most characterful, independent local shops, like Bangor and Penarth, as ‘Home Towns’.

Of the four Welsh towns judged to be Clone Towns, Llanelli was the worst example, coming sixth in the UK. The full list of Welsh Clone Towns and their UK rankings is:

6/ Llanelli
7/ Bridgend
17/ Carmarthen
19/ Aberystwyth

If the Ceredigion Council Cabinet plan to demolish 16 small shops in Aberystwyth town centre in favour of chain stores had been successful Aberystwyth would, of course, have been higher up the list in future years. And it’s interesting that Carmarthen, the town that supporters of the plan seemed to aspire to, was judged as less distinctive and interesting than Aberystwyth.

The report goes on to highlight how those places given the accolade of Home Towns didn’t just achieve this by accident but have often done so by consciously working to bolster their local independent sector.

3 comments:

  1. Alan ChamberlainSeptember 19, 2010

    I personally that a lot of people go out of Aber to Shrewsbury, not to use the chain stores, but to visit the interesting independent shops and to go somewhere with character.

    The reason that the high street is failing is due to the growth of the on-line market, not because there isn't a 'chain store' experience. In fact I was in Cardigan on Sat and saw quite a few people from Aber, who like to go there, buy a couple of bits and like the atmosphere of the 're-vamped' town.

    There should really be a focus on what Aber has to offer and a real focus on the tourist trade. Just outside there's the Osprey centre, Ynys Hir, Ynys Las, Nant yr Arian, Dolphin Centre and Teifi Marshes within driving distance, it'd be great to see some investment for an Wildlife centre - Under the castle in the space there on the prom with a cafe etc, some investment in the castle and maybe some use of the buildings were Craft used to be - Eco Centre (office space), Crafts etc, so at least if looks local.

    There's little on the prom to interest people. There seems to be so little money and so much opportunity at the moment

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