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
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
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.