Retail expert Mary Portas has published her report on the UK’s high streets listing her recommendations for breathing new life into town centres.
The report is a result of a six-month review requested by the Government for which Portas consulted with retailers, councils and trade bodies to identify ways of helping high streets to prosper.
Mary Portas said she would like to put the heart back into the centre of UK high streets and transform them into mixed-use destinations that also include places for socialising, culture, health, wellbeing, creativity and learning.
Among Portas’ 28 recommendations are the following ones:
• Put in place a Town Team – a visionary and strategic 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;
• 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;
• Large retailers should support and mentor local businesses and independent retailers;
• Run a high profile campaign to get people involved in Neighbourhood Plans.
The Government will review Mary’s recommendations and publish its response in spring 2012.