To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to allow councils to protect local businesses and town centres from large out-of-town retail developments. [HL2131]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure local authorities have the power to determine what retail developments best address their communities' needs. [HL2132]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to sustain local town centres in the current economic climate. [HL2133]
The Government have put in place strong policies in Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres (PPS6), to allow local authorities to sustain and enhance their town centres. PPS6 asks local planning authorities to plan positively and proactively for their town centres, with growth focused in existing centres in order to strengthen them and, where appropriate, regenerate them.
PPS6 asks local planning authorities, in conjunction with stakeholders and the community, to assess the need for new retail development and identify deficiencies in provision. They should then put in place strong policies based on strategies that reflect their local vision and which are supported by a good evidence base.
We will shortly be publishing revised planning policy for town centres in which the need and impact tests in PPS6, published in March 2005, will be replaced by a more effective and enhanced assessment of the impacts of new proposals outside town centres. Practice guidance on assessing need, impact and the sequential approach will be published at the same time to ensure that the town-centre first policy is implemented consistently.
The Government have developed various policies and tools to promote vibrant and attractive town centres. We are considering what further steps might be taken to assist town centres in the current economic climate.