BUSINESS in Barry’s town centre has suffered a blow after two major retailers confirmed they are shutting up shop.

The New Look and Dorothy Perkins will close on September 4 and September 16, respectively.

Town centre councillor Ian Johnson has said that the latest closures point towards a "town centre in crisis."

The Vale council has defended its regeneration of the town centre – saying many schemes are in place to champion the area and support and promote trade.

Holton Road Traders Association, Dave Elliott said: “It’s a blow to Holton Road to have two major retailers pulling out.

“It’s definitely going to affect footfall."

He added that with choice in Barry town centre becoming increasingly limited, more people will be driven to shop elsewhere.

Traders association vice chairwoman, Rachael Williams agreed the closures were a “real blow”.

She said: "People need to vote with their feet and use the town centre shops if they want to keep them.

“We are lucky to have fantastic shops in Holton Road - independents and national chains. We need to support these shops if we want a thriving town centre.

“Nobody wants to see empty shops. They play a vital role in our communities.”

Window cleaner and Harvey Street resident John Viney said his business was also feeling the impact.

He said: “There are already empty shops and this will add to the demise of the street. Where has regeneration shown itself?

“There are pockets of improvement in the town, but Holton Road is sadly looking in a bad way.”

Vale and town councillor, for the Buttrills ward, Ian Johnson said: “Losing household names like this from the middle of Holton Road shows that the town centre is in crisis.

“Plaid Cymru’s town centre councillors such as myself and Cllr Millie Collins have been warning about this for months, as shops have quietly closed their doors month by month, but the Tory Vale council haven’t understood the urgency of the situation.

“There is no point talking about regeneration plans that are years away, like a Business Improvement District (BID).

“This is happening right here, right now.

“The council must take action to understand why so many national businesses are closing down their Holton Road shops and how to better support locally owned independent shops that are now the town’s backbone.”

Vale council cabinet member for regeneration and planning, Cllr Jonathan Bird said the Castleland Renewal Project had involved the council spending more than £2 million on Holton Road, improving the highway, signage and appearance of both commercial and residential properties.

“This upgrading work was made available to all businesses in the renewal area and resulted in 34 new shop fronts being installed and six vacant shops converted to residential use,” he said.

“Seven new businesses have since moved into these refurbished properties.

“The council supports Barry’s town centre in many other ways, through its day-to-day maintenance and by organising marketing and events.

“Last year these activities included bringing an ice rink to the area and providing funding for a Christmas market.

“We are also keen to establish new events throughout the year and money is available to support this.

“Other initiatives include trialling the use of under-used taxi bays for additional customer car parking, while our town centres development officer is in routine contact with traders, assisting with issues as they arise.

“Recently, a presentation was arranged for traders highlighting the benefits and pitfalls of a BID which could generate additional revenue for promoting and improving the town centre.

“At the request of traders an application has now been submitted to Welsh Government for feasibility funding.

“The ongoing Holton Road Grant Programme encourages property owners to improve the external fabric of buildings, bring empty shop units back into beneficial use and improve access to vacant or underutilised upper floors which could provide residential accommodation.

“Up to 75 per cent grants are available through this programme.

“Since it was launched in 2014, seven business properties have been refurbished in this way and three are now occupied by tenants.

“A further three schemes are currently under way and the council has secured a further £80 000 in grant from Welsh Government to extend the programme.

“All this work has not only benefited individual premises, but made Holton Road in general more attractive with the aim of increasing footfall and boosting trade.

“Welsh Government has also launched a new investment programme which will see up to £44 million spent on regeneration projects in South East Wales over the next three years.

“These form part of the City Deal and the council has already identified a gateway redevelopment opportunity for Barry town centre as a priority.”

“There is a wide range of advice, guidance and in some cases finance available to eligible businesses of all types in the Vale.

“The council’s website sets out clearly where support can be found, whether it be from the council or through our many partner organisations.”