Mary Portas’ recommendations to save our high streets have been warmly received by the independent retail industry.
In her report, The Portas Review, the retail guru set out 28 recommendations that she believes will “breathe economic and community life back into the high streets”. These include: an overhaul of business rate calculations a town centre-first policy in the national planning policy framework and offering free car parking in town centres.
Portas urged co-operation between all parties. “Local authorities, landlords, retailers and the public need to work together to really animate the spaces they occupy,” she said. “Without the engagement and collaboration of local people, many high streets will die and retailers, landlords and local authorities alike will see their investment wasted.”
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said the recommendations “put the focus on a crisis facing our high streets and set out a blueprint for government action”.
Cambridgeshire retailer Jonathan James, who gave evidence to the review, hoped the recommendations would be implemented quickly. “I’m pleased with the report, especially the recommendation that ‘exceptional sign-off’ by a Secretary of State is required for new out-of-town development.”
He added he was “quietly confident” the government would act on them. “Considering it was David Cameron and Nick Clegg who appointed Portas with the task, it would be odd if they didn’t,” he said.