The Conservative Party's Commission Into Small Shops has produced a series of recommendations to help reverse the decline of independent retailers.
In its report, A Strategy for Successful Community Hubs, the Commission recommends that government should allow local councils to ensure out-of-town retail developments are needed by local communities and that the need test, under threat in new government proposals, should be retained. It says planning options which allow a diverse retail mix to flourish should be promoted.
It also calls for partnerships between local businesses, and for local businesses to be given a greater voice in decision-making.
ACS chief executive James Lowman, who represented the group on the Commission, said: "This is an important contribution to the debate about the future of high streets.
"The report rightly identifies the risks associated with weak controls on retail development out of town."