The House of Lords has lent support to the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) campaign to protect retail diversity in the Localism Bill.

During the Bill’s second reading debate in the House of Lords, Lord McKenzie of Luton said the the draft National Planning Policy Framework was a “weak and inadequate definition of sustainable development”.

The ACS has called for the Localism Bill to be “Tesco-proofed” through the introduction of safeguards that will allow for diversity on the high street. These include a robust town centre first policy that includes impact assessments and a duty on local authorities to develop a retail diversity scheme.

ACS chief executive James Lowman welcomed the support from Lord McKenzie. “We are pleased that peers have recognised at this early stage in their debating of the Bill the need for stronger provisions to promote high streets and sustainable development,” he said.

“By passing amendments that implement a retail diversity scheme and favour sustainable development, Parliament would be able to provide a strong and stable framework to promote growth on our high streets.”

Lowman also reiterated his call for the guidance on the National Planning Policy Framework to be published.

“Right now decisions are being made about retail development that will impact on high streets for a generation,” he added. “We cannot afford to rely on Ministerial reassurances about the content of the National Planning Policy Framework that still has not been published.”