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Government planning policy to put town centres first is here to stay. ...
Government planning policy to put town centres first is here to stay.

Planning minister Richard Caborn told the recent British Council of

Shopping Centres annual conference in Birmingham that policy

affecting town centres would play a leading role in promoting urban


'Our policy of putting town centres first is here to stay. Let me be

quite clear, we are not trying to strike a balance between town

centres and out-of-town shopping.

'In 1980 only 5% of retail turnover was in out-of-town shopping

centres, by the year 2000 it could be as much as a third and still

rising. We think this has gone far enough.'

The minister went on to reaffirm the government's commitment to

planning and transport policies, stating that they would continue to

intervene, when necessary, to call-in applications for out-of-town

retail developments.

He called on retailers, developers and local planning authorities to

implement the policies in a positive way.

'We want local planning authorities to take a positive approach to

planning for the Urban Renaissance, to promote competition,

innovation and growth in the core market place.

'We want to bring the goods to the people, not make the people travel

further to the goods. It is about regeneration, equality of access

and sustainability.'


1. A research report 'The Impact of Large Foodstores on Market Towns

and District Centres' published by the Department of the Environment,

Transport and Regions on 25 September, 1998 demonstrated that large

foodstores sited outside town or district centres cut the market

share of principal food retailers in market towns or district centres

by between 13 to 50%.

2. PPG6 sets out the government's policies on town centres and

retailing. Local planning authorities must take their content into

account when preparing development plans. The guidance may also be

material to decisions in individual planning applications and

appeals. PPG13 sets out the government's policy on integrating

transport and land-use planning.

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