In order to help retailers take part in shaping local transport policies and to minimise the potential damage to their business, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is preparing new ‘rules of engagement’, the Retail Toolkit for Improving Town Centre Accessibility.
The ‘Retail Toolkit’ offers retailers step-by-step instructions on how they can best influence local decision makers. It includes advice on early warning systems for council proposals that could undermine local businesses. The guide also provides retailers with a series of probing questions to ask councils, such as:
- Can they give a pledge on guaranteed journey times by public transport?
- What is the council doing to tackle the lack of parking in town centres?
- Is there anything the council can do about the lack of loading bays near my shop?
Ed Cooke, BRC Head of Transport and Property, said: “It’s in everyone’s interest, from councils to local residents and businesses, to ensure thriving town centres. For councils to make well thought-out decisions on town centre accessibility, they need retailers to tell them about the impact their proposals may have.
“Positive change can be achieved when businesses get involved in the consultation process. For example, lobbying by London’s West End theatres meant the end time of the London congestion charge was changed from to six to 6.30pm.”
The BRC estimates that the toolkit will be ready for distribution to small retailers and local authorities across England and Wales in a few months time.