Published: 3rd Jun 2013

One year on from the launch of the Portas pilots it’s fashionable to slag them off as an example of this government’s failure to seriously tackle the decline of the high street. Instead of demoralising the local communities trying to make these schemes work however, we might do better to look at what the government itself is doing. Last month the DCLG introduced new permitted development rights relaxing the planning rules allowing premises change of use for two years without having to apply for local authority permission. The government claims this will ‘breathe new life’ into the high street. The reality is that filling up empty shops will breathe new revenue into the treasury and local authority coffers since the Business Rates Retention Scheme was introduced in April this year allowing local authorities to keep 50% of business rates collected. With 33% budget cuts to local government since 2010 and … (To read the full article, subscribe below)