The Prankster has been given this case report regarding Cwmbran by a local resident.
You might be interested to have a look at the case of Cwmbran, about 6 miles north of Newport. It was built as a New Town in the 50's, and the Town Centre is owned by one developer, Prudential.The bus station is in the town centre, and the railway station is within 400 yards. There are three large supermarkets (Sainsburys, Morrisons and Asda, all on the perimeter of the town centre. The entire town centre is pedestrianised, compact and 90% under cover. You can easily walk from one end of the town centre to the other and remain dry.
In the City Centre itself, the policy of not offering free parking, coupled with high business rates meant that Newport still has a high proportion of vacant stores, although it is not as bad now as the high of 27% vacancy in 2012. However, where major chain stores vacated, they have been replaced by discount stores and other discount retailers. In a RetailVision survey published in June of this year, Newport ranked second only to Sunderland as having the highest proportion of discount stores in the City Centre, with 20% of all stores being classed as discount stores. Such stores do little to provide a solid basis for sustainability. Newport City Council is currently building a new shopping mall, aiming to be completed at the end of this year. They say that it has a full uptake of occupants, but this is on the back of no rates for a couple of years. What happens when those rates go up, only time will tell. Debenhams are likely to be the first store to open, the completion of their section having been prioritised. It will be interesting to see if it's presence generates any more footfall in the centre, considering there are already large Debenhams stores in Cardiff and Cribbs Causeway, Bristol.
The Prankster thanks the contributor for a very useful piece of research and analysis. it is clear short sighted councils kill town centres with parking charges. Although the money rolls in at first, motorists eventually move away to other towns or out of town retail centres.
The Parking Prankster