PRESTATYN has the best town centre in Wales, according to a new index.

Real estate consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs recently listed the High Street in its biannual 'vitality' rankings, which considers factors such as the volume of retail space, suitability of businesses to consumer demand, essential retail such as groceries and pharmacists, vacancy rates of properties, spending by residents and tourists and the number of cars, which is said to reflect the ability to travel into retail centres.

Controversially, the index also considers age, with a higher number of people over the age of 66 said to have a negative impact on commerce due to the likelihood of shielding over the last 18 months.

Prestatyn was followed by Ruthin in second place, Monmouth in third, Blackwood in fourth and Cardiff in fifth.

Simon Carson, head of leisure for Harper Dennis Hobbs, said: “There is no doubting that events of the last year have hit the hospitality industry hard, but our analysis shows the importance of hospitality venues to the health of our high street. While restaurants have been forced to close their doors for periods, many have started a takeaway service and these businesses, as well as those existing cafés and takeaways which have remained open throughout, have been the major draw of footfall to high streets.

“Centres with a high proportion of takeaways and cafés have proved to be more vital, particularly with consumers spending significantly more time in their local communities. On the other hand, the retail centres with a high proportion of large restaurants, bars and nightclubs have suffered from major restrictions to trading – however it is important to note that the fundamental factors behind these areas’ success in previous years remain and we expect them to bounce back over the course of this year in line with restrictions being eased and consumer confidence rising.”

The index follows a survey by online savings platform Raisin UK on the ‘bouncebackability’ of cities and regions after the pandemic. This included sources from the ONS and Commons Library, including businesses’ five-year survival rate, CPI index, the growth of large businesses and government spending per head.

Hugh Evans, leader of Denbighshire County Council, said: “We are committed to working with and ensuring that all the Denbighshire business community is receiving the vital support they need to protect and grow jobs and the economy in the county.

“Despite the pressures of the pandemic we are pleased to see that the resilience of Denbighshire businesses has been recognised alongside the strong business community spirit of our towns.”

“It has been a difficult time for all and it is a testament to all businesses that their commitment has highlighted Denbighshire as a County that has a thriving economy that is recovering better than any other county in Wales.

“We will continue to build on this by drawing new business and larger footfall into town centres to benefit whole Denbighshire economy.”