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February 19, 2011


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When it comes to votes, paper may be the wave of the future.

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I have been banging on about the potentially corrupting revolving door. Top Civil Servants, Ministers, Generals could be tempted by retirement job prospects into acting for their own interests rather than those of the country. That is why the watchdog (ACOBA) ought to be given teeth.


It's obviously not just about free parking as the couple of quid spent on parking (before it was free)is still far less than the petrol to get to Cardiff or Cribbs.

The out of towns are turning into theme park shopping experiences with people going for a whole day out.

Mothers can even leave little johnny in a creche while they shop.

What we lose with the demise of small family high st businesses is the knowledge of the tradesperson. It might cost a little bit more but the guy behind the counter will tell you what to buy and how to fit it.

The other major contributor to the downfall of the high street is internet shopping. Shoppers have a look in their nearest shops find something they like then buy it online cheaper.


The High St as a format will have to reinvent itself drastically in the next few years. I doubt that it's viable as a full-on retail venue anymore - how can it compete with the range of choice available in warehouse-sized modern stores out of town, or the specialisation possible through the internet?

I believe Huw is right when he says we should think the unthinkable - the future of the High St (if it has one), is probably in recreation.


"If free parking had been given whilst many now boarded up premises were crying out for it then town centres would not be full of empty shops."

Maybe, maybe not.

We don't have to look very far however for other reasons why people are shopping less in the last couple of years.

In previous years, not only was unemployment lower, but credit was easily available, which allowed those with less real ability to pay, to buy.
That kept retailers busier and more profitable than they would otherwise have been.

So what we are really looking at here is a shrinking market and the real problem being expressed here is where what money is being spent, is being spent.

I cannot say how this will all shake out, but attempting to claim it is down to whether there is free parking or not or the location of bus stops is unlikely to give even part of the picture and if these were to be part of the solution for small businesses they would likely be a very small part.

Although I applaud the council for making some efforts now, I was disappointed by their failure to react quickly, early on, when by easing the conditions for businesses they may have helped them retain staff and thereby keep unemployment from spiralling.

Those devoted to the free market would say that those who fail, should fail and those who succeed should do so and that that is what the free market is all about, and while I am not a devotee, there is an element of truth to it.
It is certainly possible to arrive at such a point logically from certain starting points.

If buster believes that the bus situation has an impact on his business then he is quite right to lobby the council to make changes.

But there will be a lot more to business survival in Newport than that and he will need to be quick on his feet and adaptable.
His business (whatever it is) may need to move in other directions.
To keep afloat, never mind thrive in these difficult times, thinking the unthinkable in business could well be necessary.

The council could temporarily drop all business rates and introduce buses that stop outside his shop all day long, alongside free parking and fill his wish list a thousand times over and he would still be in business at a time when there are simply fewer people in employment and of those who are many have a lot less money to spend than they used to have.

Those of us who live here and who value our local businesses, need to make sure that we do actively support them where and how we can.

Having said that moneylenders, pawnbrokers, cheque cashing & pay day loans, cash for gold, law firms specialising in "accidents" and the like can go whistle, if they all went out of business tomorrow I wouldn't shed one tear.


My previous comment - The council will not allow town centre free parking because it collects revenue and helps to pay the council chief ex more than the prime minister.

The above statement is factually incorrect Huw.

What i should have said is that councils nationally including Newport have for years objected to and resisted free parking until the town/city centre devastation has resembled a ghost town.

If free parking had been given whilst many now boarded up premises were crying out for it then town centres would not be full of empty shops. If it wasn't for the non rate paying charity shops helping to fill some holes in town centres it would be worse still.

"What do you want them to do, roll time backwards?"
Listen to small businesses and learn from their mistakes.

Do you approve of their parking promotion or not?
I approve of it , sadly it's 15 years too late for many.


Okay Patrick, you had a fully developed theory of why the council would never offer free parking, but they do offer free parking so you switch to it being too late to offer free parking.

What do you want them to do, roll time backwards?

Do you approve of their parking promotion or not?

Then we have Paul having to repeatedly explain to buster that the scheduling and routing of public transport in Newport is not something he has any direct or indirect control over as an MP.
It's a council issue.

It seems politicians are not the only or even the biggest problem in the UK.
Many of the public seem to want magical father figures who will make everything perfect with the wave of a magic wand.

At least it explains the bizarre voting patterns and the desperate desire to castigate all politicians as being the same.
They are, after all none of them,
magical beard in the sky miracle workers, and as that is apparently what we want, no wonder we are so constantly disappointed.

Come on Paul, make an effort, get out your magic wand and sort everything without wasting any time at all on things that don't bother me at the moment.
(Please note, that as a voter I reserve the right to consider things important in the future that I consider unimportant right now and then castigate you for not having been on the case before)

Paul Flynn

At it again Buster. It is not my role to defend the local Tory-Libdems Council but they did introduce some free parking. There is also a brand new indoor parking area in the city centre that is a great improvement on what was there before.
Many years afoot when I chaired the committee that ran the buses I introduced a free town centre service that ran from the railway station. We had to abandon it after six months because hardly anyone used it. That was about 1980.

The publicity for the town centre meeting was entirely damaging. In the build-up to Christmas I heard so many comments about it not being worthwhile shopping in Newport because there's nothing there anymore. Some thought that Marks and Spencers had already gone. The negative publicity has its affect on Newportonians and those beyond who can shop elsewhere.

This blog. concentrates on the positive aspect of Newport and does not accentuate the negative as all your messages do, Buster.


"And here was me thinking they had made efforts on parking."

Sadly in Newport's case about 15 years too late.

Count the empty shops.

In many other towns no effort has been made whatsoever.


"The council will not allow town centre free parking because it collects revenue and helps to pay the council chief ex more than the prime minister."

And here was me thinking they had made efforts on parking.

From the pages of the council website and previously noticed on billboards all around.

Newport’s parking promotion has been extended to include all council-owned multi-story and pay and display car parks.


"Enjoy free parking at:

Cambrian and Park Square multi-storey car parks
No parking charge for the first two hours

Open air pay and display car parks
From Monday 31 January pay only 10p for the first two hours"


“the council's deaf to our ideas to help business in newport city centre.”

Council’s have been deaf regarding helping small businesses in town centres nationally for years.

Their idea was to get the rates from the big out of town stores as well as the existing town centre businesses. Sadly the town centre businesses have been devastated.

The council will not allow town centre free parking because it collects revenue and helps to pay the council chief ex more than the prime minister.

The public now prefer to shop out of town with easy access , free parking etc.

The council could help with improving access, free car parks, rate reductions etc but as you realise they are not interested in small family businesses .

The big stores pay them the big money!


i have approached mr evans ,am's,yourself and other councillors.
i attended the kings head hotel meetings which were a waste of time.

the council's deaf to our ideas to help business in newport city centre.

as said above we are not asking for money we want
better transport links
a more relaxed pedestrianisation of the city centre
more free parking [all of newport is either resedential parking or double lined]

unless you want more shops in the city centre going to the wall and the city centre becoming a ghost town.

pull your finger out or is newport not worth your time.

you seem to think your only good enough for national or international matters.

private business will get us out of this recession but government and opposition government arent helping.

we are being ignored as though it will all get better by its self.

it wont and many will become unemployed if politicians dont stop point scoring and doing right by the people they serve.

Paul Flynn

As I spend a some time doing my work as an MP and driving on French, Dutch and German roads, I am well aware that fuel prices are not a British problem. Prices have gone up worldwide.
What will the Tories do? Help their friends in rural areas only?

Paul Flynn

As negative as always Buster. MPs have specific jobs to do. So do Councillors. I was a councillor for 20 years. I did the work of a councillor including chairing Newport Transport. I did not try to do the job of an MP. You now have a Tory Councillor running the Transport in the city. Have you approached him?

Previously you attacked passport workers for demonstrating for their jobs.

The Tories are reducing fuel prices for the distant islands and probably rural areas. How will that help Newport?


omg a comment from someone different.

junican, my business is struggling, i've asked for help from all the politicians i can think of in newport and cant get one to pull their finger out.

i employed 6 people up until november but now only employ 3.
because i need cheaper rent [no]
because i need cheaper business rates [no]
because i need help from the banks or government hand outs [no]

the reason is newports poor transport links.
i cant get the customers dropped off a bus anywhere near my shop.

you cant even get a bus to drop you outside newport train station.

how can newport be called a city and how can shops etc in the city compete with out of town shopping areas with no public transport links.

tesco etc have laid on free buses outside my shop and even cwmbran town is offering free buses from newport to cwmbrans shopping centre.

i am pulling my hair out but who cares,not my politicains.

they live in a bubble,protected with a secure wage and unlimited expenses.

moaning about quango's,corrupt foreign politicians,pharma's and cameron will really help normal people.

politians cant and wont sort out the fuel problem because they dont have the will or the know how to do so.

why should paul care
he gets free taxi,train and air travel.


Oh! Mr Flynn! When will you see! You have been an MP for a long time. No one will take any notice of your agro re the revolving door. Does it ever occur to you that FUEL DUTIES render our industry uncompetitive in the world economy? What is the justification for them? This fact is so obvious that it is hard to believe that MPs do not even think about it.

It really is horrific that MPs do no think about important things but waste their time worrying about inconsequential.

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