‘Poor-relation Caldicot needs invigorating' - traders
8:30pm Friday 8th February 2013 in News
A COUNCILLOR who fears that regeneration work and a new supermarket will come too late to save Caldicot dubbed the town Monmouthshire’s “poor relation”.
Empty shop units, the closure of The Tippling Philosospher, White Hart and McBride’s Restaurant, and a litter and chewing-gum problem have turned the centre into a “ghost town”, claims Cllr John Marshall.
The Green Lane ward councillor said he was “shouting literally from the rooftop” for something to be done when he was a member of Caldicot Town Council a number of years ago.
Monmouthshire Council has carried out work there over the past ten months, holding community consultations, starting a jobs club and discussing a new town centre partnership with traders.
In e-mails to council officers Cllr Marshall wrote: “We are all well aware that many towns are feeling the impact of the recession, however, Caldicot appears to have been severely affected.
“There appears very little, if nothing, to attract anyone to Caldicot anymore. No cinema, no nightclub, no Wetherspoons.
“My town has become the poor relation in Monmouthshire.”
Cllr Marshall believes a survey of 100 young adults could help in regenerating the town, to see what is needed.
Several traders agree with him that the council needs to take urgent action.
Daniel Weeks, 32, owner of Weeks’ fish and chip shops, said: “I agree that something desperately needs to be done but I don’t know what.
“Caldicot’s a great little town but the council doesn’t have the foresight to introduce new things.”
George Redfern, owner of the Lite Bites café, said: “People don’t seem to be using the town.
There are a lot of people concerned, even in the charity shops.”
Peter King, 73, owner of Cobblers Pride, said: “I think a canopy would help so people can go from shop to shop keeping the weather off them.”
Laurence Evans, 58, of The Pantry, said: “I think the canopy is a great idea as a lot of elderly people live in the area.
We also need some more diverse businesses here.”
Monmouthshire Council’s chief officer for regeneration and culture, Kellie Beirne, said: “We recognise there are significant issues that need to be addressed in Caldicot, but the answer is not to focus on them as isolated or one-off projects.
“It’s about the much bigger challenge of regenerating the whole economy.”