IT is now more than three weeks since non-essential retailers have been able to open.

In those weeks people have begun to return to Wrexham town centre to visit shops as well as barbershops and salons.

On Friday, the Leader visited the town centre to get a snapshot of the current "normal" post-lockdown

We then asked Sarah Atherton, MP for Wrexham, on the new normal for Wrexham town centre and her hopes for the future.

She said: “The changing face of the high street in Wrexham is evident and these changes will continue as we exit the current restrictions, especially given the impacts of the pandemic. However, I am supportive of the Council with their ambitions for Wrexham, working with them, for example, to access UK Government funding. Going forward, I am looking forward to the opportunities in Wrexham to change and improve the face of the high street. The Council have some progressive plans that I am supportive of, such as Chapter Court, which I am excited to see get pushed forward.

“Whilst the face of the high street changes, I also want to make sure it is accessible, safe and what the people of Wrexham want, which will take a multi-agency effort. Although, from what I have seen so far, I think the various high street stakeholders have the initiative behind them, which I am actively and fully supporting.

“However, over the past few weeks, I have been disappointed that Wrexham’s hospitality businesses have lost trade over the past to businesses across the border and I know from correspondence that hospitality businesses do have concerns. Nonetheless, I am assured that with encouragement we can see Wrexham get back on its feet."

Ms Atherton added: “One area of change with the town centre that I am particularly interested in is parking. Since becoming the MP for Wrexham I have spoken with constituents and with the Council about issues related to parking, especially in relation to the town’s private car parks, such as Island Green.

“I know that the Council have put initiatives in place, such as free parking, which I support, but I also know from correspondence and preliminary responses to the parking survey on my website that the parking options in Wrexham are putting people off coming to the town centre. Instead, people are going to places such as Broughton, Oswestry, or Chester to shop or socialise which, I am sure and many tell me, is having a negative impact on Wrexham and our high street businesses.

“Following on from the survey, I am planning to raise the issue of private car park management companies within Parliament and I will be fully supportive of Council-led initiatives that will seek to minimise the parking issues in Wrexham. Solving these parking issues will, I believe, be one way of supporting our high street even further.”