ACS welcomes Lords call for changes to Localism Bill

Peers in the House of Lords have supported calls from ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) to put retail diversity and sustainable development on the face of the Localism Bill.

As part of the Bill’s Second Reading debate in the Lords yesterday, Lord McKenzie of Luton told peers the recently published draft National Planning Policy Framework has “a weak and inadequate definition of sustainable development” and followed ACS’ concerns despite promises in the Commons, there is still no official document.

Lord McKenzie said: “We will also continue to pursue amendments proposed by our colleagues in another place, focusing on putting the heart back into our high streets by requiring local planning authorities to include a retail diversity scheme within its local development framework.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are pleased peers have recognised at this early stage in their debating of the Bill the need for stronger provisions to promote high streets and sustainable development in the Bill. By passing amendments that implement a retail diversity scheme and favour sustainable development, parliament will provide a strong and stable framework to promote growth on our high streets.

“Right now decisions are being made about retail development that will impact on high streets for a generation. We cannot afford to rely on ministerial reassurances about the content of the National Planning Policy Framework that still has not been published.”