It's good to see a concrete development in the government's high street agenda. Indeed, there is much to welcome in the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF): councils are urged to put town centres first when devising planning policy and to consider the impact of retail applications on town centre vitality. On paper, out-of-town supermarket applications will be eschewed in favour of town centre retail development. At a time when one in six high street shops stands vacant, this is a crucial policy direction.

But, as ever, the devil is in the detail. At present there is too much room for developers to manoeuvre their way around the central objectives, too many clauses that are open to interpretation. If the government tightens up the NPPF and removes any potential ambiguity within it, then a resurgence in town centre retail development could be on the cards and the growth of out-of-town supermarket developments stunted.

But such optimism will be overshadowed if the myriad of retailing costs keeps rising. It's not just the obvious inflationary impact on goods and services that is hitting retailers hard, but also the indirect impact of the economic downturn on insurance and banking costs. Some retailers speak of being forced to jump through more bureaucratic hoops by their banks, who are nervously keeping a close eye on their customers (this isn't in the remit of the government's Red Tape Challenge). Others are paying for the cost of crime, either through rising insurance premiums or investing in improved security measures.

In her government-commissioned review of the high street, Mary Portas would do well to consider some of the more overlooked costs facing small retailers. Once these issues are addressed, then c-stores can plan ahead and benefit from a "best-case scenario" NPPF-inspired high street revival.

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Who wants yesterday's papers? No one. But in regards to News of the World, the answer from retailers would not have been so clear cut just a few weeks ago. While many were appalled by revelations about phone hacking, there is no doubt that the Sunday red top shifted copies. And in the first week after the tabloid's demise, retailers were fearing for the future of home news delivery as customers dithered about switching to another title. Now they're turning their attention to other Sunday tabloids, and stability, for now at least, appears to be returning. This has been helped by publishers slashing cover prices, but for how long remains to be seen. The most pertinent question in the long term, however, is will the News of the World be replaced? Watch this space.