Self-styled Queen of Shops Mary Portas has attacked the government and local authorities for failing to enforce their “town centre first” policy.
In a report three years since her appointment by David Cameron to head up the high street rescue efforts of the government, Portas claimed that with the vast majority of developments being permitted still being out of town, planners were failing to live up to the government’s promises.
Portas cited a survey by the ACS in November 2013, which showed that 76% of the new retail floor space given planning approval since new national planning guidance came into force - on the back of the Portas Review - was located out of town.
“Of the 43 developments permitted, five were in town centres (12%), seven were edge of centre (16%) and 31 were out of town (72%),” she added.
“I question whether local and central government really mean it.”
ACS chief eExecutive James Lowman said: “ACS welcomes Mary’s latest contribution to the debate, in particular the recognition of convenience retailing as a driving force behind high street growth and diversity.
“We continue to be committed to working with Mary and the Future High Street Forum to deliver sustainable and diverse high streets.”
“The report correctly acknowledges the need to strengthen and enforce town centre first planning policy at local and national level. When developments go out of town they undermine the good work of local groups and authorities try to reinvigorate their high streets.”