Campaign group supports fight to save independent traders
A leading shopkeepers’ campaign group has given its support to Cambridge MP Julian Huppert’s fight to prevent national chain stores dominating high streets across the country.
The Association of Convenience Stores, which represents 33,500 local shops, has supported Julian’s view that a rich mix of independent and multiple retailers benefits high streets.
Chief Executive, James Lowman said that local shops across the country will be interested in Julian’s Planning (Local Services) Bill which is expected to receive its second reading in the House of Commons next month.
Mr Lowman said: “If the Government are serious about localism and handing powers back to communities they need consider how the planning system can support retail diversity.
“A rich mix of independent and multiple retailers on high streets is a real draw for consumers and where possible local authorities should do all they can to support this.”
“Local shops across the country will be interested in the Planning (Local Services) Bill and the debate that it will promote to sustain retail diversity.”
Mr Lowman’s comments came after Julian met Shane Brennan, ACS Public Affairs Director in Parliament recently to discuss the Bill.
He said that the association had worked extensively on planning issues and specifically retail diversity which the Bill addresses.
The Bill, introduced by Julian under the so-called Ten Minute Rule in July, would allow the use of locally determined use classes to separate local independent shops from chains and supermarkets from other grocers. It also contains measures to protect pubs from change of use.
Julian said: “I am delighted that members of the Association of Convenience Stores have recognised the importance of safeguarding a diverse range of shops on our high streets. It is only by doing this that we can prevent every town and city becoming a clone of the next and putting our smaller, independent businesses at risk from the national chains.
“Our independent traders are vital to the future success of our city but they are threatened by the march of the big multi-nationals. This Bill would give them the protection the need to survive.”