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News - 11 May 2006
David Lepper, MP

Brighton MP backs Bill to combat Ghost Town Britain

David Lepper, Labour and Co-operative MP for Brighton Pavilion, will speak on combating Ghost Town Britain and the need for local sustainability and community involvement at a meeting in the Brighton Centre on Tuesday 18 May.

The meeting is organised by Local Works – the campaign for a Sustainable Communities Bill to encourage thriving local economies based on environmental protection, community involvement and democratic participation.

David Lepper said, “I am concerned about the various signs of community decline which could threaten neighbourhoods in Brighton and Hove and are already doing so in some parts of Sussex through, for example, the closures of Post Offices, community pharmacies and local independent newsagents. Businesses which should be at the centre of local community life.

“I am also concerned at the increasing threat to independent shops by the big supermarkets extending the range of products they offer and moving into locations where they had previously not been represented.”

David added, “Between 2000 and 2005 the number of independent retailers fell by 5,000. This can lead to social deprivation and exclusion, as pointed out in the report which I helped to produce and which was published in February by the Parliamentary Small Shops Group.

“I welcome the efforts of the Local Works campaign for a Sustainable Communities Bill which will give greater priority to participation in plans to stop the decline of local communities.

“The mechanisms in the Bill will allow people more community involvement and participation in the regeneration of their areas. I welcome this as society needs to be more bottom-up and it is important to engage people in democratic processes and decision-making.

“Indeed, a number of current government schemes established in Brighton and Hove, such as Sure Start, Neighbourhood Renewal and New Deal for Communities and Business Improvement Districts (currently being considered by traders in the Lanes and North Laine) recognise this.”

David Lepper is a Life Member of the Association of Town Centre Management and chaired the steering group for the country’s pilot Business Improvement Districts.

In Parliament he has supported campaigns by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the Association of Community Stores and the Rural Shops Alliance.

The meeting:

Date/Time: Thurs 18 May, 7.30pm – 9:30pm

Venue: East Wing of the Brighton Centre

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Lepper, David

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