Portas reveals her 28 recommendations to revive the high street
Mary Portas has revealed her 28 recommendations to revive the high street.
Portas, who was hired by the Government to undertake the six month review in May, has recommended that a tax be introduced for car parking at out-of-town developments, while suggesting that town centre parking be slashed to woo shoppers back to the high-street.
The self-style ‘Queen of shops’ also calls for landlords to become investors in their Business Improvement Districts and for local councils to share the burden of business rates - one of retailer’s biggest gripes - with landlords.
A summary of each of the 28 recommendations is below.
- 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 public register of high street landlords
- Run a high profile campaign to get people involved in Neighbourhood Plans
- Promote the inclusion of the High Street in Neighbourhood Plans
- Developers should make a financial contribution to ensure that the local community has a strong voice in the planning system
- Support imaginative community use of empty properties through Community Right to Buy, Meanwhile Use and a new “Community Right to Try”
- Run a number of High Street Pilots to test proof of concept