Norwich City Council is championing independent retailers by becoming the first local authority to back the Sustainable Communities Bill.
The Bill would give small businesses, including convenience stores and suppliers,
more say over the development of larger companies if they felt it would spoil their local area. It is scheduled for debate in the House of Commons in the new year.
Norwich councillors passed a motion supporting the Bill after pressure from the Local Works Campaign, of which symbol group RedOrange is a driving force. “I think the strong Green Party element on the council helped,” said Nigel Dowdney, director of RedOrange. “The Bill will place greater emphasis on consulting the local community, including retailers, over planning decisions.”
Dowdney also sits on the New Economics Foundation, which caused a stir in June by publishing its Clone Town Britain report, slamming large chains’ effects on high street retailing.
In his proposal to support the Bill, Councillor Bob Gledhill (Green) said: “Norwich City Council expresses its concern at the closure of local businesses such as the HSBC branch on Dereham Road and the Budgens at Anglia Square.”