A community leader has voiced fears that one of the largest towns in Flintshire is being left out of plans to revitalise the area’s town centres.
A blueprint has been set out by the county council which is aimed at arresting the declining state of high streets as shoppers are increasingly choosing to buy online.
Work already carried out has included the reopening of Holywell High Street to traffic for the first time in 25 years.
Meanwhile, proposals are being put in place to create a Business Improvement District in Mold.
However, Buckley councillor Dennis Hutchinson (Ind) has accused the local authority of leaving his town out of its regeneration schemes.
It comes despite the main business area being hit hard by the loss of its last bank in 2018.
Addressing a meeting held at County Hall in Mold today (Wednesday 1 May) to examine the plans, he said: “In my own opinion, we have become the forgotten town as far as Flintshire is concerned.
“For some time now there has been absolutely no interest in the regeneration of Buckley town centre.
“I’ll give you an example – the old factory shop – what have we done since that was closed down in September last year?
“It’s a big building and it’s empty.
“I’d like to know where we are on the agenda for regeneration as far as Buckley is concerned.”
A report presented to members of the council’s community and enterprise scrutiny committee highlighted the need for towns to have less shops and more living space in the future.
Business Improvement Districts, where traders pay a levy into a central kitty to fund improvements, could also be introduced in other areas beyond Mold.
In response to the comments made by Cllr Hutchinson, a leading politician from the Labour administration denied the authority had left Buckley behind.
Cllr Derek Butler, cabinet member for economic development, said it had supported Buckley Town Council in developing a long term action plan to attract more businesses.
He said: “There are initiatives going on in Buckley, but I have to say Dennis that I think there’s probably better engagement with councillors from other towns who seem to know what they want.
“Unfortunately, in Buckley there seems to be a lot of ideas with some people wanting to expand north of The Cross and some people wanting to expand around the Tivoli area.
“The problem with Buckley is the precinct area and you’ve got to get something there.
“There’s tangible work that we’ve done in Holywell and Mold in particular, but we’re working wherever we can even though our resources are really limited.”
In order to resolve the issue, Cllr Hutchinson invited Cllr Butler to attend a meeting in Buckley, which he accepted.
Officers stressed there was only a limited amount the council could do to make towns attractive to businesses within its limited budget.
One suggestion put forward was for more temporary pop-up shops to be hosted.
At the end of proceedings, committee members voted to support the direction of travel outlined by the authority.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).