Shopping centre once bustling with visitors is now ghost town with only one store left

It once attracted thousands of people each weekend keen to browse through the many stores on display.

But now the once bustling shopping centre known as Ebbw Vale’s Festival Park is like a ghost town, Wales Online reports.

And if it weren’t for the single Sports Direct store at it’s far end nobody would visit the site at all.

Through the empty walkways and boarded up windows, now only the sounds of sheep on the nearby mountains can be heard.

Even the popular wishing well at the site’s entrance has been fully drained recently, further adding to the misery the site has faced over the last year.

And in a place that once offered such promise for tourism in Blaenau Gwent, Wales, there is just one store left.

Despite efforts and proposals from the local council to buy the site, as well as a number of other solutions such as a proposed splash park and rumoured hotel in recent years, as it stands Festival Park is a long forgotten attraction on the picturesque hills overlooking Ebbw Vale.

While a search on the internet will tell you that the shopping centre is permanently closed, and the phones no longer ring, there is still no official word on the park’s future from owners GWM Capitol.

And so far they haven’t responded to requests for a comment on the site.

Similarly, Blaenau Gwent Council has also declined to comment on the matter of what will happen to the park in the coming years, though it is understood by locals that it is up for sale.

Shop owner Kim Maguire, who moved to Ebbw Vale town with her John Jenkins gift shop, which was one of the original stores on the site, said she was bitterly disappointed with what had happened with the town’s iconic shopping centre and still missed her time there.

Filled with fairground attractions, plant exhibitions and the famous mechanical clock, it brought over two million tourists to the area of the former Ebbw Vale Steel works, surrounded by stunning Welsh hills.

It was later turned into a modern shopping facility that featured over 30 shops and restaurants, with a children’s play park and its own owl sanctuary.

“We moved the business to Ebbw Vale last year, and it has been much quieter than it was back up at Festival Park, as the town doesn’t have as many visitors as we used to get up there,” said Kim.

“I still regularly hear from customers about how much they miss Festival Park though, and how shocked they all are at what has happened to it over the last few years.

“It still feels quite surreal to be honest, even now a year down the line. It was a sad day when it closed for me as a business and for the community as a whole.

“Everyone who worked there misses it as well, though we are now in a larger shop further towards the centre of town.”

The whole of Wales watched on when the site was first opened in May 1992, with the likes of Prince Charles, Danni Minogue, and Catherine Zeta Jones all in attendance.

Kelvin Morgan, who once ran a fresh fruit and veg shop on Festival Park, also said he had been desperately sad to see the site’s decline after leaving almost a year ago himself.

“It used to be so beautiful over there with all the flower gardens and shops so to see it as it is now, is very sad,” he added.

“It’s a complete ghost town at the moment, though I think it would still be a shame for people here to see it gone.”