New high street plan calls for big chains to fund indie retail growth
A new report on Britain’s high streets, written by the former boss of Wickes and Iceland Bill Grimsey, has called for big chains to invest in independent retail start-ups.
This is one of 31 measures outlined in The Grimsey Review, published today, which
presents a vision of high streets as community hubs that incorporate retail units.
As well as suggesting a compulsory one-off levy for national retail and leisure chains (0.25% of 2014 turnover) to sponsor local start-ups, Grimsey’s recommendations include a year-long freeze on parking charges and an overhaul of the business rates system.
Grimsey, who has criticised the recent efforts of ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas, also wants to see a more structured approach to planning, and his report suggests the formation of Town Centre Commissions with a 20-year vision.
The report presents a vision of a town centre that is no longer reliant on “bricks and mortar retailing” but features more housing, office space, entertainment and education facilities.
It also states that the UK needs to prepare for the “wired town”, with technology helping to improve shopping experiences including mood- and time-sensitive pricing.
While the report does not explore specific retail sectors in depth, independent food retailing is highlighted as a growth area. Grimsey also praises Totnes for the part that local food and independent retailers play in the town’s economy.
Read the full report at Grimsey’s website: www.vanishinghighstreet.com