WELL done Mr Arthur Nicolaas, sir, my near neighbour, for your excellent letter about the state of our city centre.

However, you are wrong in your assumption that traders don’t speak up to the council. I have worked for traditional menswear stores at both ends of the city centre. Back in the late ’70s, I remember my employers, along with other members of the Newport Chamber of Trade, making strong representations to the council, warning them of the consequences of cutting through traffic from Commercial Street and of opening the first retail park on Docks Way. They were ignored and within a month, the haemorrhage of stores began. My mother worked for years in card stalls in the market. When the decision was made years ago to stop the buses in High Street, she watched her trade dwindle. More wholesale job cuts. It became embarrassing, as a manager, reporting my nightly earnings to my area manager in our menswear store on High Street. Even Chepstow and Lydney branches were thrashing us. Now, saving regional earthquakes in the Spytty and Maesglas areas, I fear for the centre’s future at all.

Paul Taylor Maesglas Road Newport