Mary Portas is expected to focus on planning and parking reforms when she reveals her plan to revive the high street this morning. The report is due to be published at 10.30am. Visit Retail-week.com to find out her key recommendations and share your views.
Portas, who was hired by the Government in May, told the Telegraph this morning that she thought the UK high streets have “reached a crisis point”.
She said: “Unless urgent action is taken, much of Britain will lose, irretrievably, something that is fundamental to our society, and which has real social and economic worth to our communities.”
Portas is expected to call for a “town centre first” agenda and is predicted to recommend that a tax be introduced for car parking at out-of-town complexes while town centres parking are slashed to woo shoppers back to the high-street.
She told the Telegraph: “Major supermarkets and malls have delivered highly convenient, needs-based retailing, which serves today’s consumers well. Sadly, the high streets didn’t adapt as quickly or as effectively. Now, they need to.”
The TV personality and retail expert told will also call for councils to share the burden of business rates - one of retailer’s biggest gripes - with landlords and for more Business Improvement Districts to be created.
Portas was drafted in as shop vacancy rates, which now stand at 14.5%, continue to rise. The review comes as ever-more retailers look to close stores on the high-street.
Maternity retailer Mothercare is in the process of closing 110 stores, over a quarter of its UK shops, over the next two years and Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green expects to shut 250 shops which leases will expire over the next two and a half years.
The review, which is expected to call for a bonfire of red tape, will call for restrictions on night-time deliveries to be lifted.
Portas also hopes to set up high-street task forces to encourage owners of struggling high-streets to invest and wants to set up a National Market Day, with farmer’s food markets, bric-a-brac and antique stalls laid on, to woo people back to the high-street.