“We need to inject some energy back into the town centre and fill the empty units,” says Wrexham’s new MP.

Sarah Atherton was speaking after the Leader counted nearly 40 currently unoccupied shop units in the centre of town.

From Island Green to Eagles Meadow, taking in Priority Street, High Street, Queen Street, Hope Street, Regent Street and Henblas Street, a total of 37 empty units were spotted - with 12 being located at Eagles Meadow, while Hope Street and Regent Street have a combined total of nine shops sitting empty.

The Leader:

There are currently 12 empty units within Eagles Meadow

Earlier this week the Leader reported that towns in both Flintshire and Wrexham were identified as a ‘priority’ for a new funding programme.

Wales’ towns are to receive £90m of additional investment as part of a new Welsh Government approach to transforming town centres across the country.

The Leader:

The Transforming Towns package, announced by Delyn AM Hannah Blythyn, will aim to ‘bring new life into town centres’.

In Wrexham, grant Funding of £750,000 is supporting a £2.8m project to enable the renewal and relocation of Techniquest Glyndŵr, establishing a new offer in Wrexham town centre, and helping the town to address the challenge of a declining retail focus and bringing new footfall.

The Leader:

The funding will enable the purchase of the former TJ Hughes Store, Henblas, as well as building improvement works to enable the site to be utilised effectively as a science education centre.

This investment builds upon previous funding given to the recent development of Ty Pawb Arts Hub.

The Leader:

Funding of £1.5m will also be used to enhance as many as 25 properties across Wrexham Town Centre and will bring vacant commercial, residential and retail floor space back into beneficial business use via applications from individual property owners and occupiers.

This will lead to new employment opportunities and contribute to the vitality of the area.

The Leader:

Newly appointed MP for Wrexham, Sarah Atherton, said: “Many residents have voiced their concerns about the declining state of our town centre, both during the general election campaign and since I’ve become elected.

“The current situation is unsustainable, something has got to be done.

The Leader:

“We need to inject some energy back into the town centre and fill the empty units.

“We need to start with ensuring a safe, clean and welcoming environment for residents, visitors and businesses - which means tackling the substance misuse and anti-social behaviour seen in our town.

The Leader:

Some of the empty units which are located on High Street, Wrexham

“Over the coming weeks I will be speaking to the police and the council to see how we can address these issues.

“I’m pleased to see the plans to introduce free parking after 2pm have been approved and expected to begin in April, this will increase footfall in the town centre providing a much-needed boost for businesses.

The Leader:

“I have spoken to a number of entrepreneurs and am pleased to see that there is interest to fill some of the empty units, using them for a variety of shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities.

“I will do all I can to encourage this and help foster links between stakeholders and my colleagues in the Welsh Government.

The Leader:

“Having spoken to numerous local business owners it is clear that business rates are a real concern for business owners, my colleagues in the Welsh Assembly have been calling for permanent reductions in the burden of business rates on small businesses, and this is something which I hope to support in my capacity as MP.

“We need to encourage business into our town and help existing ones expand and develop.

The Leader:

“This must happen alongside a bigger discussion of what people want from their town centres.

“Residents must be fully informed and be a part of the redevelopment of our town centre.”

The Leader:

When asked whether the additional funding could help ‘save’ Wrexham’s struggling high street - many residents voiced their thoughts on what could be achieved.

Glyn Davies, 81, from Wrexham, added: “In 20 years time there will be no such thing as a shop, as everyone will be buying online.”

Another resident, Angela Evans, 60, said: “The town is just full of the same things - barbers, charity shops and cafes.

The Leader:

“Everything you need is online now, so it’s no wonder why the town is ‘dying’.

“Also with an ageing population, it doesn’t help that the town is so spread out as a lot of people are unable to walk from Plas Coch down to Eagles Meadow.” 

Oana Mocanasu, marketing manager for Eagles Meadow, said: “Eagles Meadow is a great place to visit because we are home to big brands such as Marks & Spencer, Boots, Debenhams, along with smaller independents such as Mococo and Gozo Men.

The Leader:

“But we also offer a substantial leisure offering with our busy cinema, bowling alley and range of different restaurants and eateries, which means we offer fantastic facilities in the heart of Wrexham.

“The team here work together and care about making sure the shopping centre is always a very clean and welcoming place to visit.

“We believe this all comes together to ensure Eagles Meadow remains a very attractive proposition for varied retailers to consider and a great place to visit.”