Small shops groups call for crackdown on loopholes to stop more out-of-town superstore projects
THE Scottish Grocers’ Federation and the Association of Convenience Stores have called for tighter restrictions on out-of-town supermarkets that they say prevent investment in high streets and neighbourhood shopping areas in Scotland.
The organisations have made a joint submission to the consultation on a new planning policy for Scotland.
SGF chief executive John Drummond said: “We welcome the commitment made in the new planning policy to the ‘town centre-first’ approach to retail development.
“This is vital to promoting vibrant, diverse retail provision in cities, towns and villages throughout Scotland.
“However the policy must be watertight, or else it will be exploited by powerful developers that can override the intentions of policy and the will of local people.
“For example, the principle that developments that create jobs should be viewed positively must not be a green light for exaggerated claims made by some supermarket developers in planning applications to override concerns about harmful impacts on existing retailers in town and neighbourhood centres.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “It is vital that retailers are able to rely on the planning system to be fair, transparent and consistent throughout the United Kingdom. This is the only way we can generate the confidence that will allow businesses to make the right investments that will promote growth and create jobs.”