The government has relaxed centrally imposed limits on parking restrictions to enable councils to create more spaces in an effort to revive struggling high streets.

National parking restrictions have until now dictated the number of parking spaces a council is permitted to grant, but the draft national planning policy framework (NPPF) will abolish these rules.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: "Families and local firms face a parking nightmare under existing rules. Stressed-out drivers have to run the gauntlet of parking fines, soaring parking charges and a lack of parking spaces. These parking restrictions have hit small shops the hardest, creating 'ghost town' high streets which can't compete with out-of-town supermarkets."

The scrapping of parking restrictions follows a decision earlier this year to ditch guidance encouraging higher charges for parking.

The recently published NPPF commits to a town centre first planning policy (Convenience Store, August 5), but retailers have called on the government to tighten up the document to prevent the potential for loopholes to be exploited.