Capital's Incomingretail champion vows fight over-regulation
Alastair McKay has been appointed as the next chairman of the London Retail Consortium. Currently director of corporate responsibility at John Lewis Partnership, he succeeds Luke Mayhew, who has chaired the LRC since April 2004. Retail Week talks to McKay about the challenges ahead.

What is your first priority in the new role?

'Accessibility is absolutely key. We are taking a very firm line on delivery curfews and in particular the proposed western extension to the congestion charge.'

What is your position on the charge?

'The LRC say the bottom line should be no extension to the charge zone. Studies carried out by John Lewis have proved there has been an adverse effect on trading in the existing area and we feel that with any extension into the western zone all retailers are likely to suffer.'

What is the LRC's stance on urban development?

'We are very supportive of the development of business improvement districts (BID) We believe that all retailers must buy into the concept as well as local and regional agencies.They are essential to keep London retail vibrant.'

What about the issue of crime?

'Safety and retail crime is a huge issue and we are keen to expand the shopwatch scheme introduced recently in Oxford and Regent Street where retail staff are trained up to be special constables and to patrol their own retail areas.'

Do you have any other plans for the role?

'London retailers are more dependent than anywhere else in the country on the tourist trade. The LRC are pushing for a co-ordinated advertising campaign in which retail is promoted as part of London's tourist offer. We would also like to see greater accountability on the part of London local government and agencies and our dialogue with the Mayor's office is essential to this.'