Local councillors believe improving shopping area amenities and transport, and better use of planning permission are the best ways to help independent retailers and their communities.

However, retailers instead chose reducing business rates and better policing, alongside improved transport when asked the same question. Consumers picked free parking, business rate reductions and improving shopping area amenities.

The data comes from the ACS’ Community Barometer 2017 report, which once again shows post offices and convenience stores to be the most valued retailers in a local community. Convenience stores received a +17 popularity index, while pawn shops came last with -50 and specialist food stores came top with +54.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said continued popularity may be due to retailers filling the gaps left by the decline of specialist premises. “The modern convenience store sector is now as much about providing essential services as it is traditional groceries,” he said.

Continuing the focus on business rates, retailers rated their local council's rates department as the worst performing, with a 58% approval rating, compared to local trading standards departments which had the highest approval rating at 82%.

Do it: Read the full Community Barometer 2017 report.