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A former independent businessman has photographed the sorry state of Newport’s town centre, revealing more than 40 shops are now sitting empty.

With shoppers turning to websites like Amazon for their daily essentials and gifts, it is no surprise that the High Street has taken a turn for the worse – especially with this year’s coronavirus pandemic.

Roger Sanders, who used to run Sanders Sports, took a walk around Newport recently and took photographs of all the empty stores, including the former HMV, Poundstretcher, Phones 4 U and Pizza Express premises.

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Although there are schemes and funding in place to regenerate the town, ultimately a reduction in parking costs and improvements to traffic flow are needed to entice shoppers back into the county town.

Here are just some of the empty shops that can be seen in Newport…

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All part of the big agenda and it’s going well for the government


The Islands shopping experience will be zero soon

Opinions Matter

Yes, I agree John. The island economy relies on tourists. The tourists won’t want to walk round ghost towns. Bring back Newport, Sandown and Rydes small shops….. REDUCED RENT FOR SHOP KEEPERS, REDUCE THE PARKING CHARGES. Parking fees are a rip off for residents and visitors alike. Unless the council act now, they will play a major part in destroying our shopping towns, never mind COVID.

Debby Jones

Excellent! Now that they’re all empty it’s a golden opportunity to start again. Get it back to the market town it used to be. Small, independent, local/Island businesses. We have some fabulous producers and retailers on the Island, get rid of all the big ‘mainland’ chains. Our Island capital has had no personality and nothing to attract tourists for years. Cut the big stores into small units so that small, start-up businesses share rent and rates. Or, have an indoor market for local produce. And cut the extortionate parking fees!


Small business owners will find it too difficult to keep up with increased council rates which will inevitably be put in place to claw back some revenue lost after so many shops having their rates set to zero whilst being empty. The only shops permitted to be open without payable rates are charity shops. Even national and international companies are closing on the island and all over the UK simply because they have lost the regularity of income due to these unprecedented times. With that being said, how likely is it for an independent business to survive when they have… Read more »


Without all the big mainland chains, the island & council would have been bankrupt years ago.


Let’s not forget the greedy, shortsighted landlords unwilling to re-negotiate excessive rental charges. Many of the original rents were negotiated at a time when footfall in the high street was much higher and businesses were more profitable. With the increase in online shopping and subsequent decrease in high street sales many of the landlords were not prepared to be flexible and insisted on maintaining their high rental fees. Maybe they thought tenants would find a way of creating new sales opportunities or maybe they just didn’t have a clue how retail works but It doesn’t take a genius to work… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by jones
Old Mike

Just needs some tumbleweed blowing along the street to complete the picture.

Karn Evil 9

Yes it is those landlords, greedy, probably don’t even live here or know which property is which. Government should make legislation that if rents are not reduced by landlords and if the property is empty it is seized and given to the local community to use as something. That’ll make the landlords sit up from there luxury homes and spit out the champagne.

Party of ten .

You have no idea what you are talking about .


Blame the internet. Its progress, apparently.

Mr John Rosenthal

Toss up between Internet Shopping and the fact that the town is surrounded by Supermarkets.

Old Mike

Supermarkets with their own, free parking just a few steps away from their doors.

Big Ben

Part of the Newport harbour regeneration plans includes even more shops which are not required., take note Dave Stewart. (NOT REQUIRED!)

Steven Willet

Our corrupt council KNOW shops will not be needed, BUT they also know there is far less of a hue and cry if they pretend that planning is for shops, but later ‘change’ it to more housing, than IF they had applied for even more houses from the ‘get go’.
So like the high streets, empty shops will be filled with the sort of ‘tenant’ we see on the mainland, lurking in doorways on mobiles, doing deals etc.
Watch and see if I am right.

Joe Bloggs

No small wonder with the level of parking charges on the Island.


Our town here in NW Pennsylvania has done away with meters so businesses will do better hopefully.


This is an ideal opportunity for these horrendous eyesores to be converted to residential use as all the infrastructure is in place and avoids developing on pristine countryside. The people who need to access services easily i.e. libraries, buses and healthcare, and still want a good social environment, would really benefit from converted property in these areas and they would make use of the cafes and shops still managing to exist and bring in more business. The council has inadvertently helped to kill off any customers by making it a truly stressful experience with parking charges so high. There is… Read more »


No surprise is it. The town is a terrible place to shop, constantly dodging cars and narrow pavement.

S Taylor

I argued 30 years ago when i owned a hotel in Shanklin, that our borough councils in those days were allowing the county councils to attract investment and throw money into trying to regenerate Newport. Sandown & Shanklin were the resorts which needed the investment. They should have kept Newport as a mill & market town and put money where tourists navigated too. Pubs, bars & nightclubs could have all have been invested in on the south east side. I’m sure the kids from Newport and the surrounding areas would have come over for a great night out. I worked… Read more »


Ahhhh, those were the days – lovely venue, the Beachcomber Bar, “Gulls” and “Guys”.

Ronald trump

Boris promised empty shops would be made into affordable housing.
Too many chavs in Newport to enjoy a shopping spree

Geoff Hope

Ron, the low life Chavs won’t vanish just because houses are built, they will just prey on the vulnerable who are unfortunate enough to live in them.

Missing the issue!

I love how online shoppers are being blamed for this! Yes it has made a difference BUT if shops did not just open 9-5 and realised that not everyone wants to join the crowds on a weekend then things would be different! There is only so much money to go around and with the economy being so unstable, why should we be penalised for trying to save money! I don’t want to pay expensive parking, I don’t want to deal with rude and mindless people on a weekend, I can’t afford to buy clothes, pay £8 for a pancake or… Read more »


I would love to see new shops open that aren’t cafes, coffee shops and hair dressers.
Bring back Bhs & Woolworths

Carl Feeney.. yes my real name

Went to Weymouth recently. The whole town is buzzing. Just one shop vacant. Plenty of independents doing plenty of business.

The fact is… it’s easy to get to Weymouth No ferries to contend with.

The island spirals into deprivation while others areas flourish. We’re right next to the most affluent areas in the South East yet we’re the poorest.

ISOLATION. It needs fixing.


got nothing to do with isolation feeney – stop peddling your mangey fixed link, which no one wants, otherwise it would have been here already. How is that cash raising going by the way.   having a stupid bridge will just mean gridlock and not a pleasant experience and if you think a toll charge would be cheap – you are having a laugh.   had there been a groundswell of support for your idea, that study amount of £130k would have been raised years ago – you still haven’t achieved that amount after four years and you would have… Read more »

Missing the issue!

Could not agree with you more ‘Realist’ a fix link has nothing to do with high street decline! Until we sort out the council rates, extortionate landlord charges, update what a high street is and begin to reinvent ourselves then no one will come here anyway!! The delusion that people will come and shop here as opposed to where they live on the mainland is ridiculous! The most we would get at the moment are people coming to walk their dogs somewhere different!! Let’s deal with the real issues on the Island without blaming not having a fixed link… we… Read more »


Definitely “missing the issue” – definitely

Ronald trump

In some ways a fix link does have some relation to the islands declining high streets, weve never even seen a greggs over here and the reason is some high St chains are not willing to pay the freight charges for stock when it can, set up in Portsmouth without ferry costs etc

John Miller

You say Weymouth is easy to get to no ferries to contend with,try getrting there from the island without a ferry,or do you think you can walk on water?….same applies here Newport is easy to get to from anywhere on the Island with no ferries to contend with

Mr justice

I’m sorry to say you good people dont even realise what’s happening here. And before you all say well what’s happening then? Just look at the fear that’s been put into you! For what? A virus your own government down graded to a flu. This is all part of a plan. But hey, I’m just a conspiracy fool. The supermarkets will take everything, big corps will control all. Lets just wait shall we.very sad. Your life will change behind your belief,hey it already has!.

Missing the issue!

So what’s happening then that ‘we good people’ do not understand?
High streets not appealing the the masses, high streets not taking into account people don’t want crap nor can they afford, high streets not realising people are not free 9-5, high streets not realising that people don’t want to deal with shitty arseholes at a weekend!!
Not sure how THESE reasons are conspiracy theories or government based tbh

Reality Check

Big corporations are already running things, look at Amazon, EBay etc. but this has been the growing situation for years and driven by todays societies need for fast service gratification at affordable pricing with very little needed effort, not because of any ‘big government plan’. Same with supermarkets, there are so many now they are competing with each other for the same market space. What has the virus got to do with it? Idiot.

Simon Bennett

some of these have been empty for years, some look like they should clearly be redeveloped in their entirety. What a lot of them do have is empty upper floor accommodation, those which were suitable could be have the upper floors converted and provide affordable starter accommodation thus generating income for the landlord allowing them to offer the ground floor retail space at a more affordable rent. This could well attract a wealth of diverse and local business talent, either new or up and coming, of which the Island has a lot, to occupy them. The council could assist with… Read more »

Opinions Matter

High Street shopping is dead. The only way it can be resurrected is to REDUCE rent and REDUCE parking charges. If this IOW Council can’t work this out for themselves, well, just about sums it all up!!!! Rent the shops to island people who have something to sell but don’t take ridiculously high rent……better to have a thriving town centre with shops trading than EMPTY ONES!!!

Reality Check

Needs more than that OM. The Council needs to create a USP for our town centres which may involve looking at products and services that the internet either cannot provide or struggle to provide to a decent quality. However, i doubt very much our esteemed Council have either the intelligence or collective organisation to consider it.


“Carl Feeney – yes my real name” has just shot himself in the foot.
“ISOLATION” – yes please – that is what has kept the Isle of Wight as one of the lowest recorded areas of Covid-19.


Sadly all the time we have a local authority bureaucracy overseeing ‘regeneration’, then we will only ever get more flats, more parking restrictions, higher rates, higher parking charges and of course lots more decline. The blocking off of parking in the lower high street with garish red and white crash barriers must be a nightmare for the poor shops down that end, but of course rules are rules and are easy to make when you are funded by the taxpayer and therefore shielded from their consequences

Ryde Reader

Stupidly high rents, ridiculous rates and high parking charges – what can you expect? The council could change 2 of those but it won’t It should also stop out of town retail parks, totally unnecessary.


Its not just the Isle of Wight you nutters, its global. I’ll let you have the 1% that wont use the internet, but for the rest of us, you and i know to well that town shopping is over! And has been for sometime, as will money be gone soon – fact. Now stop blaming the government, covid, the council etc as that has nothing to do with this. The issue is the one thing that you cannot go without – the internet!!!!

Mal Keating

You need a mixture of independent and modern shops within Newport. You have to entice the younger generation in to spend money as well as the mature people. What “in trend” shops are there for the 15-30yr olds or for anyone older who likes to be modern. I agree, we need market stalls, quirky independent shops, good old fashion shops but you also need modern shops – you have to keep up with the times….like it or not! How ever beautiful this island is, it cannot survive on the seaside towns attractions alone, we need a good main town full… Read more »

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