Greener, fairer, nearer: Wales reveals direction for town centre recovery

The Welsh Government’s plans to revise the post-Covid economy offer a glimpse of the future of place-making and regeneration.

The Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission serves up an initial pot of £270 million to support business through the Development Bank of Wales. For businesses and other organisations to unlock that funding, they’ll be asked to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable operations and a long-term employment model.

"If businesses want support from the government they have to sign up to give something back as well - an economic and social contract which respects fair work, respects the environment and can harness and support workers mental health, I think that's a fair deal," says Economy Minister Ken Skates said:

"We have an opportunity to look to the future and reconstruct the economy with the fundamental goal of achieving long-term well-being with dignity and fairness for people. We will also maximise sustainable investment in Wales and fortify our pursuit of fair work and social value with businesses and organisations who receive public funding.”

With the shift to digital working, shopping and service delivery likely to persist in some form after the Covid pandemic subsides, the future of our communities, places and high streets is a key question for local authorities to answer.

Local government agencies need solutions to high streets full of empty retail premises, all while considering the form and function of public sector buildings when citizens have moved en masse to digital service interaction.

We’ve already explored the ideas of Smarter, Fairer Cities and reimagined public buildings that act as multi-agency hubs for shared services.

The direction of travel set by Wales in looking to build back stronger, but greener and smarter, is one we’re likely to see more widely across the UK, radically altering the way local government functions and interacts with communities and businesses.

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