ACS Welcomes Business Rate Appeals Proposals; Urges Caution on Fees

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed proposals from the Department of Communities and Local Government which aim to make the appeals system for business rates more efficient.

The consultation was launched this week by High Streets Minister Marcus Jones, who claims that the plans will ensure businesses can be confident that their valuations are fair whilst attempting to curb the number of speculative appeals going through the system.

Under the proposed reforms, businesses would go through a 3-stage process:

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Ministers Tell Councils Town Centre Developments Must Come First

In a letter to local councils, Ministers have told planning officers to use powers in the National Planning Policy Framework to deliver retail investment in town centres. Clarification of planning policy has only previously been delivered by Ministers on controversial planning issues like Greenbelt developments.

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Lack of Local Plans Failing Town Centres

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed a report by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee criticising the application of planning policy by local authorities.  In its report on the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework, the Committee has drawn attention to shortcomings in the way planning decisions are reached, and has made a number of recommendations relating to town centres and retail planning, including:

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Planning Minister Out of Answers on Town Centre First

Planning minister Brandon Lewis MP has admitted that Government does not monitor the effectiveness of planning rules designed to promote investment in town centres.

 

As part of an evidence session conducted by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, the former high streets Minister  told the Committee that town centre first planning rules were a matter for local authorities to deal with as part of their local plans, despite fewer than one in seven actually having plans in place that comply with the NPPF.

 

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MPs Raise Concerns About Effectiveness of Town Centre First Policy

MPs have raised question about the effectiveness of the planning system to direct new retail investment in town centres during an oral evidence session on the National Planning Policy Framework.  John Pugh MP for Southport and member of the Communities and Local Government Selection Committee referenced ACS’ (the Association of Convenience Stores) report ‘Retail Planning Decision Under the NPPF’ during the evidence session.

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CLG Select Committee: Town Centres Continue to Suffer from Out of Town Development

ACS has told an influential group of MPs that high streets continue to suffer from the unrelenting stream of out of town developments.

In an evidence session on the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework, ACS Chief Executive James Lowman told the Communities and Local Government Select Committee of the failure of the Government’s ‘town centre first’ policy and the need for change to support high streets.

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ACS Gives Evidence on Town Centre Planning to CLG Select Committee

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman has appeared before the Communities and Local Government Select Committee today on the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework and its impact on town centre investment.

During the session, Mr Lowman presented the findings of an independent review of the planning system which showed that 76% of the new retail floor space given planning approval since the new laws came into place in March 2012 have been located out of town.

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