Janet's latest column in the NWWN

The Post Office is a beating heart for so many of our communities.

From banking cheques to toping up prepaid energy meters, the stores help make our everyday lives easier.

Across Aberconwy, communities like Betws y Coed, Llanrwst, and Llandudno, are fortunate to have seven day a week services.

An effort is being made to maintain access in other communities too, such as Capel Curig, Henryd, and Penmachno, which are open or host the mobile service one day a week.

However, the post offices so many of us rely on are under threat.

Last year it was warned that as many as 2,500 could be closing around the UK.

Sadly, the service in Conwy will cease trading by the end of the month.

Dr Philips and her husband should be proud of the contribution they have made to Conwy, and the fact that they have been there to help when every bank bolted.

The closure places a spotlight on the problems faced by Post Office Ltd.

It has failed to attract a new operator despite me notifying the Head of External Relations in 2018  about the need for a plan to be put in place to ensure that a facility remained in Conwy, and the local field team conducting a search.

Years have past in which a solution could have been secured, but despite plenty of warning, there has not been a successful transition.

It is time for Post Office Ltd to review the business model it is expecting potential entrepreneurs to adopt, and the Welsh Government to play its part.

I was proud to support the opening of the current service in Penmaenmawr, and have already this term called for more help to be provided to our highstreets.

This is needed because in the most recent quarter, Wales had a retail vacancy rate of 13.4%: a higher shop vacancy rate than any other part of the UK.

During the Welsh Conservative debate on community regeneration I called for a number of steps to be taken.

Business rates for all small businesses with rateable values of up to £15,000 should be abolished.

Major reform is needed to small business, high street, and discretionary rate relief, so to help entrepreneurs more easily access much-needed funding.

And we need to ensure the right of communities to challenge, submit expressions of interest for running local authority services, and bid for assets of local value.

Aberconwy has been missing out on Welsh Government regeneration support, and I agree with the findings of the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities that seaside towns have been neglected for too long.

It is time for a new approach, and for the Welsh Government to establish Seaside and Market Town funds.

This would see £200 million made available for all of us to decide how best to invest so to support vital services and businesses in our local area. Clearly, it could help stop service closures.