The Chancellor announced in the Budget that the default answer to applications for new development would be "yes" and that planning bodies must prioritise jobs and growth. A number of measures to streamline planning applications were also announced, including a 12-month guarantee for the process of all applications, including appeals.
Jonathan James, who owns six stores in Cambridgeshire, said the government was "so hell-bent on growth that I hope they're not lulled by major multiples at the expense of the high street."
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: "Radical changes to planning must not override the ability of councils to plan for sustainable high streets."
However, the Budget announcements that corporation tax would fall 2% this year to 26%, and an agreement by banks to increase the availability of credit to small businesses by 15% were welcomed by small traders. The Chancellor also announced the creation of 21 Local Enterprise Zones to drive growth.