The British Retail Consortium has developed a guide to help smaller retailers work with local councils on improving town centre accessibility.

The Retail Toolkit for Improving Town Centre Accessibility includes advice on how to spot warning signs that council proposals could affect retail businesses.

It also provides retailers with questions to ask councillors about planning issues.

"For councils to make well thought-out decisions on town centre accessibility, they need retailers to tell them about the impact proposals may have," said Ed Cooke, head of transport and property at the BRC.

"Positive change can be achieved when businesses get involved in consultation. Lobbying by London's West End theatres got the end time of the London congestion charge changed from 6pm to 6.30pm.

"By not getting involved, retailers risk changes that harm their business without them even realising they are happening."