Portas on High Streets, Newsnight 6th September

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called on High Streets Tsar Mary Portas to look out for the interests of independent retailers when she submits her report at the end of this year.

Portas has been the poster girl for retailers ever since her series Queen of Shops blasted onto our screens two years ago, and following her appearances at Pro Retail earlier this year.

She was employed by David Cameron to add some star power to the government’s High Streets review, and the ACS have presented the case for recommending stronger ‘town centre first’ national planning policies, and investment in high streets through business rates income.

There is almost four times as much out of town retail development. With 30 million sq ft of out-of-town developments in the pipeline, equivalent to the entire City of London, compared to just 7 million sq ft of town centre development

The research presented shows that for every town centre development in the pipeline, there is almost four times as much out of town retail development. With 30million sq ft of out-of-town developments in the pipeline, equivalent to the entire City of London, this is a vast imbalance.

“We will continue to work with Mary Portas to promote radical changes around out of town parking, business rates and planning policy to ensure the future of our high streets,” said James Lowman, ACS Chief Executive.

Do you think Mary, with her star power, can do enough to save the ailing High Street?