Traditional high streets could be put at risk from out-of-town shopping areas unless proposed changes to planning rules are scrapped, MPs have said.
The government wants to replace the ‘needs test’ which was created in response to complaints that smaller shops were being damaged by chains developing larger stores in retail park or out-of-town supermarket developments.
However, the Communities Select Committee has declared that it should be retained to prevent town centres being damaged.
The needs test forces planning committees to address whether the local community needed a proposed superstore but a review of planning regulations in 2005 found the test was having "undesirable effects", such as restricting competition and consumer choice.
The government announced plans to replace it in 2007 with a broader "impact assessments" but the cross-party Commons committee has said it is not convinced the needs test is having adverse effects but rather it is serving a useful function in keeping high streets vibrant and obliging large chains to invest in city centre rather than out of town.
Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants