The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged councils to take retailers into account when devising local regulation.

Speaking at the Local Government Association (LGA) conference earlier this week, ACS chief executive James Lowman called on councils to resist the temptation to create confusing local enforcement protocols and for retailers to get involved in the process.

“The effective working relationship between a council and its local businesses is vital to the economic fortunes of retail places from the village shop to the busy high street,” he said. “The core of a successful relationship is effective communication to establish where the common problems and solutions are. This requires effort on both sides.”

The call came following LGA chairman Sir Merrick Cockell’s proposal that “treasuries” within local authorities are set to take complete financial responsibility for that area, removing a reliance on over-centralisation.

Lowman welcomed this proposal but called for a clear and consistent approach on enforcement.

“To deliver this councils must focus on providing consistency, so that businesses can have faith that the interpretation of regulations will not vary from authority to authority, or officer to officer,” he said. “Local policies on things like planning and rates can and should vary, and be tailored to the needs of local people and businesses, but the way regulations are enforced needs to be fair and consistent.”