Holyhead Tops Shop Closures List

by Sarah Jones
(North Wales)

The port town of Holyhead on Anglesey tops a list of shop closures across Britain as the recession takes its toll on the high street.

Along with Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, Holyhead is projected to have 39 per cent of its shops empty by the start of February, according to Experian the credit reference agency.

Having almost four out of ten shops close down is a huge blow to the town and surrounding communities, and is about four times the national average.

Holyhead lost its largest shop, Woolworths, just before the New Year and this was a particularly big blow, given the store's popularity, floorspace and location in town next to Boots the chemist.

The town is also reeling under the shock announcement that over 240 jobs are to go in the spring at Eatons Electric, a local circuit breaker manufacturer.

There is also great uncertainty over the fate of the local Anglesey Aluminium smelter on the outskirts of the town, where over 500 people work.

In contrast to the decline in the town centre, there does seem to be more activity on the out of town retail park, where WM Morrisons recently opened a big superstore, creating new jobs for local people.

Holyhead is well served with national brand food stores such as Tesco, Co-op, Lidl and Netto.

Given the important contribution of tourism to the local economy, the loss of an iconic retailer such as Woolworths is a major concern for economic development planners at the local County Council.

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