Should corner shops get planning protection?

27 Jul 2010

Policy area: Planning, Town centre & Retail

New proposals being announced tomorrow could see corner shops getting protected status like they do in France.

This would make it harder for an owner to change the use of a corner shop in an attempt to bat off competition from large supermarkets and keep local shops trading.

While this emanates from the London Assembly, it’s likely to provoke debate across the whole of the UK, where some have suggested that high streets have been hindered by large retailers and out of town shopping centres.

Others have argued that if people loved their small shops so much, then their business would surely be enough to keep the businesses afloat.

Commenting on the proposals outlined below, Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said:

“The industry is committed to helping the government effectively deliver its localism agenda and we have always been very supportive of ensuring a mix of fascias on the high street. Allowing councils to dictate the mix of their central retail offering seems a very sensible way of ensuring communities can have the right mix of local shops. But we need to be realistic in that a new planning class won’t save unviable businesses. If locals really want to use their local shops and they provide good service, selling the right products, they will survive. A big part of that is making sure we don’t continue to pile tax burdens onto landlords and retailers at a time when many are already struggling.”