Retail guru and TV celebrity Mary Portas officially announces her independent review on the future of the UK‘s high streets at 10.30 GMT today.
Her suggestions are set to shape the government‘s plan for improving local communities in the years to come, and the results come seven months after Portas was initially commissioned to undertake the work.
The official Maryportas.com website displays the main points, shown below, but a much more detailed report will be unveiled by the government later this morning.
You can read a much more detailed analysis of her findings at Retail Gazette this afternoon.
In the meantime, it would be interesting to hear readers‘ views on the points below. Which ones are welcome? Which ones don‘t you like the sound of? And why?
Put in place a “Town Team”: a visionary, strategic and strong operational management team for high streets
Empower successful Business Improvement Districts to take on more responsibilities and powers and become “Super-BIDs”
Legislate to allow landlords to become high street investors by contributing to their Business Improvement District
Establish a new “National Market Day” where budding shopkeepers can try their hand at operating a low-cost retail business
Make it easier for people to become market traders by removing unnecessary regulations so that anyone can trade on the high street unless there is a valid reason why not
Government should consider whether business rates can better support small businesses and independent retailers
Local authorities should use their new discretionary powers to give business rate concessions to new local businesses
Make business rates work for business by reviewing the use of the RPI with a view to changing the calculation to CPI
Local areas should implement free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres and we should have a new parking league table
Town Teams should focus on making high streets accessible, attractive and safe
Government should include high street deregulation as part of their ongoing work on freeing up red tape
Address the restrictive aspects of the ‘Use Class‘ system to make it easier to change the uses of key properties on the high street
Put betting shops into a separate ‘Use Class‘ of their own
Make explicit a presumption in favour of town centre development in the wording of the National Planning Policy Framework
Introduce Secretary of State “exceptional sign off ” for all new out-of-town developments and require all large new developments to have an “affordable shops” quota
Large retailers should support and mentor local businesses and independent retailers
Retailers should report on their support of local high streets in their annual report
Encourage a contract of care between landlords and their commercial tenants by promoting the leasing code and supporting the use of lease structures other than upward only rent reviews, especially for small businesses
Explore further disincentives to prevent landlords from leaving units vacant
Banks who own empty property on the high street should either administer these assets well or be required to sell them
Local authorities should make more proactive use of Compulsory Purchase Order powers to encourage the redevelopment of key high street retail space
Empower local authorities to step in when landlords are negligent with new “Empty Shop Management Orders”
Introduce a pu