ACS calls on Portas to take decisive action on high streets
The Association of Convenience Stores has challenged the Governments High Streets Tsar Mary Portas to take decisive action on the key issues affecting independent retailers ahead of the publication of her review at the end of this year.
At a meeting earlier this week, the ACS presented the case for local shops and called on Mary Portas to get tough on planning policy and recommend that investment is driven through use of business rates income.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “ACS supports the High Streets review, and there is no doubting Mary Portas’s commitment to diverse and vibrant high streets. The key to achieving this lies in effective planning policy and a fair approach to rates. There is a fundamental tension between out of town retail parks and community retailing, and this review has to get to the heart of this battle. Non-confrontational best practice advice will not suffice.
“We will continue to work with Mary Portas to promote radical changes around out of town parking, business rates and planning policy to ensure the future of our high streets.”
During the meeting, ACS presented research which revealed that while the number of out of town retail developments under construction has fallen dramatically, there is currently over 30 million sq ft of out-of-town development space at pipeline stage. However, pipeline development within town centres remains at just over 7 million sq ft.
Lowman continued: “For every town centre development planned, there is currently almost four times as much space being allocated to out of town retail. These businesses are able to provide massive expanses of free parking at very little cost to them, while rates in town centres continue to drive people away.”
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