The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has submitted a strong defence of ‘town centre first’ planning policy in response to the government’s plans for reform.

The proposed reforms suggest removing the ‘need’ test, which requires applicants to prove there is sufficient market capacity to accommodate their development, in favour of a simplified impact assessment framework. 

ACS said it welcomed the government’s vision for more vibrant high streets, but warned that removing the need test would weaken policy. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Getting this right is vitally important to prevent a retail development free-for-all.”