IT has been a month since Caerphilly county borough entered local lockdown, and much of the South of Wales has since followed.

Most people have found they are able to carry out everyday tasks like going shopping as normal, due to having major shopping centres in their areas.

But the local lockdown in Caerphilly county borough has made some residents realise how much they are missing out on shopping for anything other than basic essentials of food - and how they feel the rule of not leaving the borough also sees them travel further than necessary to go to a supermarket.


The Argus spoke to residents from across Caerphilly county borough, and almost all have called for an improvement in retail areas in terms of larger chain stores like neighbouring Newport, Cwmbran and Cardiff have.

One resident of Caerphilly town, Jackie Cartwright, said: “When thinking of larger retailers like M&S, River Island etc, the closest are Merthyr and Llantrisant.

"Now would be the time for these retailers to look at Caerphilly for investment. The retail park in Caerphilly would be ideal.

"When you look at the housing developments throughout the borough, we need investment from larger retailers, the customer base is there.

"The local lockdown has shown there is not that much in Caerphilly. We are forced to travel."


Rachel Forsey agreed. She said: “The selection of shops in Caerphilly is poor to say the least. Prior to Covid, I regularly shopped in retail outlets in Cardiff, Merthyr or Llantrisant as there are no suitable clothes and other household shops nearby.

“All in all, I find it awful that we can go out for meals or drinking in a pub, but cannot leave the borough to purchase necessities which are not available locally.

“Covid aside, the fact that we have empty stores in the retail park near Bedwas is a disgrace - especially when you consider the amount of local jobs which could be created in local stores which people like me would normally visit instead of leaving the borough.

"And the impact on the environment from us locals driving miles to buy what we should be able to buy locally in a borough of this side - shame on Caerphilly council for not considering this something to drive forward.”

Katie Lloyd added: “I think come Christmas shopping it’ll definitely have a big impact.

"I’m a cautious shopper and with my son having autism, I need to see the toys, whether there’s dangerous bits or whether the noise of them would distress him etc.”

Gareth Jones said: “It’s impossible to buy clothing for older men in Caerphilly.”

Sarah Tee said: “If you live in Caerphilly and want something other than food then you can’t. We have nothing locally, no clothing retailers of note, and what shops we do have, have very little choice.”

Kate Lucas said she struggles to get decent healthy pet food as she finds the supermarket ones to not be suitable.

Jennifer Kerl-Whitehead: “Ideally its times like these an all purpose general department store would thrive on Gallagher retail park, like Debenhams or something similar, as previously said there's next to no high street shops to buy clothes and Christmas gifts in Caerphilly.

"They've had all those retail outlets on Gallagher empty for years. Caerphilly town shops are too small for big named retailers so we're unlikely to see any open anytime soon in the town centre, pop up shops and markets and local small businesses are better suited to the town these days.”

Sian Powell in Newbridge has found that she and others in her position have had to travel further for basic items including a loaf of bread due to not being able to go to their regular stores because they come under the exempt category for the compulsory mask wearing - yet are not allowed to enter.

Tricia James said it highlighted the need for stores like Primark, Next, etc in the borough.

Lisa Dark also said there is a lack of options in the borough and online shopping takes out the viewing of products in-store to check quality.

It is not just shops that people are struggling to access. It is also banks. Wendy Donovan said: “There’s only one Nationwide bank in the county borough, and it's in Caerphilly Town.

"Online it says it is open Saturdays 9-12 and only open until 3pm on the rest of the week, which isn’t ideal when its a long way to go and you’re in work.

"Went one Saturday and the sign on the door said they were closed on Saturdays. I would normally go to Cwmbran and have had no issues there."

Denise Sterry in Risca cannot believe how she is unable to go to Morrison’s in Rogerstone, which is almost on her doorstep, but is allowed to go on a 30-minute drive to Morrison’s in Caerphilly town.

Claire Holbrook believes it would be better to have a mileage restriction in place rather than a county borough one, similar to what was had in the nationwide lockdown in March.

She said: “I think coming up to Christmas if we are in local lockdown it is going to be really difficult to buy presents as we don’t have many of the bigger named shops in the borough.

"I would rather see a mileage restriction in place like early lockdown, as if I want to go to Morrison’s I have to drive to Caerphilly instead of going to the Rogerstone one, which I can see from my house."

The local lockdown has had a positive effect on some though, who have found local independent stores.

Linda Reed Toghill has found people come into the record store where she works in the market in Caerphilly.

“I run the record stall in the market, Ed’s Attic Records. Ed runs the online part of the business. Sometimes people come out just to chat. It breaks up their day,” she said.

Courtney Smalley in Newbridge has also found more independent shops that have the products she needs.

Emily Williams also feels she has everything she needs in the borough. She said: “It hasn’t affected me at all except that I can’t go to the beach to go fishing.

"Living near Caerphilly town, I’ve got access to pretty much everything I need in a small area.”

Caroline Jenkins added: “I’ve discovered local shops are value for money.”

Amy Visona is also happy with being able to shop locally or online. She said: “I’ve not been stuck for anything, can’t get to some of the shops I regularly went to, but I can shop online easily enough and to be honest I’ve preferred it.

"I've always tried to support local businesses though for meat and veg etc.”

"Kate Louise has also found shopping locally with independent businesses to be helpful. She said: “I’m trying to shop as locally as possible and found some lovely independent traders on my doorstep.

"I haven’t stepped foot in a supermarket since March as I recently had a baby boy and don’t want to risk going into a shop.

"I do most of my shopping online for clothes - it's not ideal and not as nice as being able to visit a shop to look at what you want, but it will have to do for the time being.”