9 Feb 2016
Policy area: Town centre & Retail
The leading body representing commercial landlords has welcomed the Government's decision to devolve Sunday trading hours to local authorities, but has warned that it is not the silver bullet that will invigorate the UK's struggling high streets.
The British Property Federation (BPF) believes that local authorities are best placed to decide whether local businesses and customers will benefit from later opening hours on Sunday, and that the liberalisation may help certain areas to compete better with online retailers. In order to really reform high streets, however, the organisation advocates more radical measures, such as Town Centre Investment Management.
The BPF also pointed out that introducing a zoning system within local authorities could be logistically difficult for landlords and retailers to operate and confusing for consumers.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: "There are many problems facing high streets across the country, and the extension of Sunday trading hours has the potential to go some way towards increasing footfall and revenue for businesses. If we want to bring about long-term change, however, policy must be taken further. Initiatives such as Town Centre Investment Management, although radical, have the potential to make a significant and long-lasting difference if adopted by Government."