Thursday, January 18, 2007

Councils must fight for small businesses

Press Release:
Photo opportunity 9.30am – 18th January 2007 at:

TESCO EXPRESS London Road Thornton Heath

Croydon council must actively challenge the unbridled expansion of supermarkets if small local businesses are to survive, a key spokesperson for the UK Green Party said today.

Derek Wall, Male Principal Speaker for the Green Party was speaking in Bensham Manor as part of the Party’s by election campaign. He warned:

“Research consistently shows that the local economy suffers when supermarkets move into an area, yet the Treasury is now actively lobbying to remove what few restrictions there are on supermarket expansion.

Up until now, supermarkets have had to demonstrate that there is insufficient retail space in an area before they are allowed to move in. But a Treasury-backed report into the planning system has just recommended that this so-called ‘needs test’ be scrapped.

If this happens the impact on local small businesses will be cataclysmic.”

Shasha Khan, Green Party candidate in the Bensham Manor by election said:

“Small business owners have told me that they’re already struggling since the opening of two Tesco Express stores, within 400 yards of each other, on London Road, Thornton Heath. This cannot be allowed to continue.

The council must include protection and support for local small enterprises in its Local Development Framework and give practical support to small shops. ”

He continued, "Local shops promote a sense of belonging to a community and without them statistics show social isolation and a rise in crime and vandalism. Additionally, unlike supermarkets, any profits stay in the local area rather than dissappearing to remote corporate headquarters."

Note to Editors
· The Barker Review, which reported in December 2006, recommends deregulation of the planning system and an end to the ‘needs test’ currently required under the Government’s Planning Policy Statement 6 (PPS6). Ruth Kelly, the communities and local government secretary and a former Treasury minister, is now considering whether to include the measure in a planning white paper due this spring. The proposal has been criticised by a wide range of organisations including the Association of Convenience Stores, the New Economics Foundation and the Town and Country Planning Association.

· Policies encouraging alternative forms of retail across London are collected in a paper by Sustain, the Food Commission and the London Development Agency: ‘How London’s planners can improve access to healthy and affordable food’.

. Tesco now collects one in every eight retail pounds spent,,1586791,00.html

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