A ’perfect storm’ of aggressive supermarket expansion, poor planning laws and low investment could wipe out hundreds of high streets, James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS told an audience of retailers and suppliers at its Heart of the Community Conference last month.


He called for a fairer approach to retail planning to ensure the survival of UK high streets. "Many of the town centres that do survive will become ’clone towns’."


Speakers at the conference included crossbench peer Lord Mawson and MP Stephen Hammond. Later retailers were also invited to a reception at the Houses of Parliament where Mark Prisk MP launched a healthcheck guide for high streets and town centres. Prisk said it was a practical tool to help people assess what’s happening on their high street: "Central government doesn’t have all the answers," he said. "The idea behind the local enterprise partnerships is that business will have an equal footing with local authorities where the express purpose is to promote that local economy."