Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman has set out the challenges facing forecourts during the next parliament at today’s 2015 Forecourt Seminar, focusing on business rates and the continuing localism agenda as key priorities in the coming months.

Speaking at the event in Birmingham, Lowman said: “The new government will continue to give local authorities more power to pursue health and social objectives, which could affect modern forecourts looking to offer alcohol and food to go. It is key that as a sector, we inform government about the importance of convenience stores and forecourts investing at the heart of their communities.”

Lowman also spoke of the current review of business rates, noting the huge impact that business rates have on forecourt stores: “The business rates system needs reform to ensure that valuations are accurate and fair. We believe that forecourts are currently unfairly penalised due to the scheme used to calculate their rateable values. We will be taking this message to the Treasury in the coming weeks.”

During the session, Lowman also announced that the successful Voice of Local Shops and Local Shop Report surveys will be extended to include more information on forecourts, providing crucial new information on investment, optimism and the make-up of those stores.

This year’s Forecourt Seminar featured presentations from him!, Accenture, MFG, Rontec, Christie & Co, PRA and Global-MSI.