Saving town centres

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

BRITAIN'S environment secretary John Gummer is determined to limit the development of super stores, to protect declining town centres.

Gummer's department issued guidelines that strengthen the position of local authorities resisting applications for super stores. The revised notes for local authority planners place greater emphasis on the need to maintain the vitality of town centres, and a spokesperson of the department stressed, "It is clearly not of benefit to consumers for town centres to collapse."

Planners point out the new guidelines are ambiguous. They say super-store owners can draw support from the emphasis that planning permission should not be refused unless there is clear evidence to suggest "the result would be to undermine the vitality and viability" of the town centre.

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