High street retailers can now receive a free guide to help them spot early signs of decline in their area and make improvements.

The 'Healthy High Street' guide was launched earlier this month by Business Minister Mark Prisk.

Produced with the help of retail trade associations and high street stores, it enables retailers to check how their local areas rate in attractiveness, parking, transport facilities and variety.

It also gives advice on working together with other traders to draw up an action plan for what needs to change to rejuvenate an area, and offers tips on putting that plan into action.

Speaking at the launch of the document, Prisk said that much high street degeneration could have been prevented if early warning signs had been spotted.

The BRC welcomed the document but said called on government and local authorities to support it with more practical action such as keeping business rates low and reducing car parking charges.

The guide can be downloaded from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Skills website at www.bis.gov.uk.