On Friday 11 March Brighton & Hove City Council held a meeting with independent traders in the city. The subject for discussion was the importance of retaining the right balance of independent and multiple retailers in the city.
Leader of the Council, Mary Mears introduced the discussion and praised the efforts of Brighton's small traders in making the city unique.
Soozie Campbell, city centre manager, painted a picture of the city from an economic health point of view and highlighted the fact that Brighton has held out well throughout the recession while other towns have suffered considerable economic downturn, especially in the north of England.
City Planner, Martin Randall explained some of the basic principles of planning law and illustrated the constraints that the council has to work under in granting permissions to businesses. Quite simply, if a premises already has a planning use class that allows a supernarket to occupy it, there is very little that anyone can do to prevent them.
Terry Clarke, from Forfars presented the point of view of a mid range retailer and a team of representatives from Sainsbury's came along to field questions relating to the new stores that have popped up throughout the city over the last few years.
A lively debated ensued and key points were taken on board by new Strategic Director for Place, Geoff Raw. Geoff will use the material from the discussion to inform any plans going forward and will report back to the group at a later stage.
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Brighton & Hove City Council