The Association of Convenience Stores' (ACS) campaign to secure the future of the British high street has gained momentum.  

The lobbying group has taken its campaign for an amendment to the Localism Bill to key MPs who sit on the committee that will scrutinise and amend the new law. 

In the brief sent to the Public Bill Committee, who met for the first time on Tuesday, the ACS has called for the introduction of a statutory duty to promote sustainable high streets, as well as a new planning framework to include a requirement of developers to fund external and independent analysis of their proposals.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our campaign is really taking off. With several MPs already speaking up for sustainable high streets in the second reading debate, we are now looking for those on this crucial committee to take this on and change the law.

“Acting now will ensure our high streets are secure for the next generation. Without this law, we are in danger of allowing an out of town supermarket free-for-all that could cause irreparable damage to the very communities that are the heart of the Big Society agenda.

"By putting the duty to promote sustainable high streets in law, councils will have the legal authority they need to stand up for high streets and ensure that developers invest there and not out of town." 

The ACS welcomed the support shown from a number of MPs for sustainable high streets during the Bill’s second reading debate on January 18. 

Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney, said in the debate: “There is a concern that some developers might hijack the system. For example, a food store might put forward in a particular neighbourhood an enticing planning-gain package that appeals to that community but has a negative knock-on effect on surrounding areas.
“How is it intended to guard against such scenarios? The Government should continue to promote the concept of the sustainable high street, and there should be sequential tests and economic development impacts.”