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ADEPT's comment on 'High streets and town centres in 2030'

21 February 2019

ADEPT welcomes the House of Commons report on ‘High streets and town centres in 2030’ as a valuable and timely contribution to the discussion on how best to support and develop our town centres. The Select Committee took a wide range of evidence and there is much of value in the findings reached. 

ADEPT supports the conclusion that achieving the large-scale structural change needed will require an intervention led by local authorities, using all their powers and backed by cross-sector collaboration. It welcomes the recognition by the Committee that, given the financial pressure faced by local authorities, central government funding will be needed for this, as well as significant private sector investment.

Peter Geraghty, Chair of ADEPT’s Housing, Planning and Regeneration Board who gave evidence to the Select Committee, said: “ADEPT supports the finding of the Committee that Planning is crucial to high street and town centre transformation and the call to ensure that planning powers are fit-for-purpose, sufficiently responsive and up-to-date.

“We welcome the Committee’s recognition that permitted development rights (PDRs) risk undermining the strategic vision that a community has developed for its high street or town centre. The increasing use of permitted development rights in a range of scenarios runs the risk of fundamentally undermining the planning system and local authorities’ ability to help steward and deliver sustainable development. ADEPT raised these concerns in its submissions to the Raynsford Review, which recently published its report.

“It is good that the Committee recognises the importance of local plans and that they can and should be living documents capable of capturing changing trends but with a strong visionary element particularly in relation to high streets and town centres. 

“Members of ADEPT responsible for place-based services, work on a daily basis trying to achieve a balance between meeting the challenges of the current economic climate and setting out a visionary path for our communities and places.”