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ACS supports call for tougher town centre planning rules

The association representing local shops has welcomed the recommendation of a committee of MPs for the toughening of town centre first rules laid down in the draft National Planning Policy Framework.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

ACS supports call for tougher town centre planning rules

The association representing local shops has welcomed the recommendation of a committee of MPs for the toughening of town centre first rules laid down in the draft National Planning Policy Framework.

James Lowman, chief executive of The Association of Convenience Stores, said: "The Community and Local Governemnt Select Committee's recommendation is an important signal of the growing consensus for driving investment in our town centres. To achieve this we now clear and unequivocal national rules that prevent out of town developers from circumventing the policy at the local level."

The committee's report calls on Government to ensure that:

-  the sequential test for development remains a requirement rather than a preference
- developments that fail the sequential test should be deemed unsustainable
- offices are brought back within the scope of town centre first rules.

The ACS said the recommendations were all in line with those it had made during the consultation period for the draft NPPF.

The association had called for changes to the town centre first policy to address the increasing number of empty shops in UK high streets.

Lowman continued: "We hope that this report will be considered carefully by Ministers and we recognise the reassurances given by the Minister on these issues to the Committee when he gave evidence. We strongly believe that a broad consensus is emerging on the importance of this policy.

"Now we need action. We must see the policy amended and a clear signal sent that town centre investment is the right option for retailers now and for the long term."

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