The Retail Development Bill was put before parliament by Liberal Democrat peer Brian Cotter and will now enter its committee stage. Proposals include a business rates review to create three classes of shop and a requirement for local planning authorities to produce a plan of retail development. It also proposes setting up an Office of Retail Planning to ensure plans are carried out.
Opening the Lords debate, Lord Cotter highlighted the need to "protect the future of small independent retailers".
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman added: "The Bill shows how concerned both Houses of Parliament are about the future of local shopping. With such strength of opinion the government and the Competition Commission can no longer ignore local stores."