The guide, produced with the help of business organizations such as the BRC and town centre managers, includes advice on assessing whether an area is attractive to customers, whether parking and public transport facilities are sufficient and the variety of shops on the high street.

Businesses and local authorities are being encouraged to work together locally to draw up action plans to rejuvenate high streets where necessary.

The BRC welcomed the initiative. BRC director of business and regulation Tom Ironside said: “In order to achieve healthy high streets retailers need support. In particular, Government should keep business and property rates as low as possible.”

But he cautioned: “There’s a place in British retail for both high streets and out-of-town centres. This can’t be about favouring one form of retailing over another and the ultimate aim must be the same everywhere – to create great environments in which to live, shop and trade.”