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London Assembly calls on Mayor to protect local shops

Published:  03 August, 2010

The London Assembly has called on The Mayor of London to give more support what it calls "cornered" shops.

It believes the Mayor should change his policies to give councils more ways to protect local shops from big retail developments, in a report published this week.

'Cornered shops'by the Assembly's Planning and Housing Committee analyses the decline of neighbourhood shops in London, and calls for changes to local, regional and national planning policies - including the Use Classes Order - to offer them more protection.

Deputy Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee, Jenny Jones AM, said: "People in residential areas need local shops that provide essential services that they can walk to. They do not need rows of betting shops and internet cafes, or to have to travel to supermarkets by car.

"The Mayor must lead on changing the planning system to empower boroughs to take back control of their high streets and protect local shops from further decline."

The report claims that the continued move by the big supermarkets into smaller convenience formats has also contributed to the loss of smaller retailers. Four in five independent shops say the biggest threat they face is supermarket expansion.

The report calls on the Mayor to make changes to his London Plan to strengthen protection for local shops and give boroughs more power to resist or negotiate on planning applications from big retailers.

Revision of the Order would give local authorities the power to stop essential shops changing to outlets like internet cafes and betting shops without planning permission.