Town Centres and Retail Dynamics: Towards a Revised Retail Planning Policy for Wales

A research study document has been issued by the Welsh Government on the appropriateness of current national planning policy in achieving the Welsh Government's aspirations for town centres.

In 2013 the Welsh Government appointed GENECON to undertake the research. The study forms part of a wider review of the Welsh planning system and is intended to form part of the evidence base to inform a review of current national planning policies in so far as they relate to retail development and town centres.  The research found that although Wales as a whole experienced some net leakage of retail expenditure to England, this was estimated at just 7% for comparison shopping and even less for convenience. These high levels of expenditure retention were generally indicative of a strong retail offer in both market sectors. In relation to individual sub-regions, North East Wales and Mid-Wales have the largest negative balance of trade for comparison shopping, whilst it is the South East and South West that experience the highest net losses for convenience goods.

Overall, the analysis of retail dynamics showed that whilst retail at the regional level appeared relatively strong, this disguises the fact that 39% of comparison turnover flows out-of-centre and that out-of-centre locations now account for eight of the top 20 retail destinations in Wales. The evidence on retail dynamics therefore pointed to the important role that retail planning policy can play in the future in maintaining an appropriate balance between in-centre and out-of-centre retail provision, and in protecting the future vitality and viability of established shopping centres at all tiers of the retail hierarchy.

Date: April 2014 Date of publication

Author: CLG

DCP link: This item updates DCP section 13.12

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