The heartbreaking sight of more than 40 empty stores in Newport town centre has been captured in pictures by a former business owner in the town.

Roger Sanders, who used to own the successful Sanders Sports in the lower High Street, did an impromptu walkround and survey with his friend Vic King this week.

"It is just so shocking to see.We knew there was a lot of empty shops but when you count them up it is more than 40.

"Of course the world has changed but Newport is paying the price of having so many chain shops, which are now struggling, with the likes of Laura Ashley, HMV and Monsoon all going.Isle of Wight County Press:

"If we could get coffee shops and decent residential in parts of the high street it would at least look better.

Roger, who owned Sanders Sports from 1991 to 2008, sees other Island towns as doing much better, with independent shops filling the space.

He said there were some new shops springing up around the town and he wished them well.

"But Newport turned its back on the independents and was seduced by the big chains.

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"It needs a fundamental look at how the town is laid out. I believe the current Covid situation was the perfect opportunity to test out partial pedestrianisation.

"Also, what is the council thinking about with its ugly red and white Covid barriers and parking price increases...these things don't encourage people to shop in the town."

Isle of Wight County Press: Edinburgh Woollen Mill's former premises.Edinburgh Woollen Mill's former premises.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, member for Newport Central on the Isle of Wight Council, pointed out on Roger's Facebook post that funding had been won from English Heritage to help with regeneration of the town.

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She said: "Things are happening and despite being unsuccessful in our application for Future High Streets, we did get High Street Heritage Action Zone funding which will enable shop fronts to be done up, upper floors brought back into use and enhance the pedestrian environment.

"I'm not sitting back saying 'oh isn't it dreadful' but with colleagues at Newport Business Association and Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council, doing something about it.

"We are supporting Let's Buy Local, a new Island gift card, Fiver Fest and are continually in dialogue with the Isle of Wight Council and our MP regarding issues such as traffic and parking."