Retailers large and small have come together in a rare show of unity to fight the coalition's 'Community Right to Buy' proposals in the Localism Bill.

The proposals would allow community groups to add private or public buildings or land to a community asset list. Anyone seeking to sell a listed asset would then be required to give the community first refusal to buy it.

The Association of Convenience Stores, The British Retail Consortium and the Rural Shops Alliance claimed that the proposals could generate unnecessary red tape and slow down or even prevent hundreds of potential sales.

Some assets should be excluded from the lists and communities should be able to demonstrate that they could assemble and finance a bid, the ACS said.

"The principle is fine, but it is how it would work in practice that is wrong," added public affairs director Shane Brennan. "We are suggesting improvements and parameters that would make it better and reduce the potential for risk."

RSA CEO Ken Parsons added: "If a prospective purchaser of a village shop is looking at two shops, one that is listed and one that isn't, then he will go for the one that isn't. That interferes with the normal commercial process, which could unintentionally harm the market."

The BRC said that right to buy would only work if retailers, regardless of size, could continue to buy and sell efficiently.