Letter for Newport Advertiser re Portas Report

Copy of letter for this week’s Advertiser Page 4:

Save Our High Street

With the final publication of the Mary Portas Report into the future of the nation’s High Streets, it is surely the opportune time for the key politicians at Telford & Wrekin Council to show some vision and leadership and reject the proposed Superstore on Station Rd Newport, which is likely to mean the death knell for the High St, and take up her challenge and establish a Newport High St pilot to test out some of the Report’s key recommendations.

It has already been argued by over 500 objectors to the planning application (TWC/2011/0916) to date that there is no policy justification for the building of a Superstore in this location, no quantifiable or qualitative need for a development of this scale and nature given that it is well in excess of that needed to meet local needs, and that it will have a significant impact upon the vitality and viability of Newport Town Centre.  Also the argument put forward by the developers that expenditure in a new out of town Superstore will benefit the Newport economy has been shown to be fallacious by the New Economics Foundation, whose research shows that money spent off the High Street is more likely to leave the local area straight away, having less economic impact than spending in retailers with a more localised supply chain.

Portas identifies that High Streets nationally have reached a crisis point and that if action is not taken now, much of Britain will lose, irretrievably, something that is fundamental to our society and which has real social as well as economic worth.  With the imminent threat posed by an out of town Superstore on Station Rd, this is certainly true in the case of Newport.  I would urge those readers who value their High St and don’t want to see it damaged irretrievably forever, write to the Leader of the Council asking him to establish a local pilot based on Newport High St to test out the recommendations of the Portas Report and to lobby Newport Town Council to take a lead on this initiative.

John Pay

Church Aston


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