Eric Pickles tells 'tatty' shopping parades how to succeed

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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has issued a set of guidelines to help "tatty" shopping parades in England compete with the High Street.

He urges small neighbourhood shops to "kick out the louts", set up "savvy" services and "restore local pride".

Labour branded his "shopping list for success" - which comes with no new money - "patronising" but it was welcomed by a leading trade body.

Retail guru Mary Portas has drawn up a £10m plan to revive the High Street.

But the Department for Communities and Local Government says it wants to reassure local convenience stores which employ 10 people or fewer that they have not been forgotten, describing them as "crucial" to the economy.

Local grocery shops, newsagents and cafes have been squeezed by the growth of out-of-town shopping centres and online retail, although are still growing at a faster rate than High Street stores, according to research quoted by the DCLG in a report.

'No-go zones'

Mr Pickles said: "In the past too many neighbourhood shopping parades have been left to fade in memory and outlook.

Start Quote

The government is giving long overdue credit to local shops and helping them by giving practical advice on how to work together and thrive”

End Quote National Association of Convenience Stores

"Convinced they can't compete with the mega stores and besieged by gangs of louts they have become tatty, no-go zones turning our beloved local convenience store into the local inconvenience.

"We've taken action to back local firms and small shops and today we are offering up ways to rescue run down shop parades by kicking out the louts, set up savvy services for shoppers and restoring the local pride in parades."

He said parades should be "thriving beacons of local business, home to the character of the neighbourhood community and the local shoppers' destination of choice".

The guide sets out government support available to local shops, such as the "Community right to bid", which is meant to make it easier for local people to take over "treasured" local assets faced with closure.


But Shadow Communities and Local Government minister Roberta Blackman-Woods, for Labour, said: "This is further gesture politics from the government to cover up their lack of an economic plan for the country and for High Streets.

"While shop owners are working hard to keep their businesses going, the government has done little to improve consumer confidence and get our economy moving again.

"Advice like 'Go the extra mile on service' is simply patronising and unhelpful."

But Mr Pickles' guidance was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores, which helped draw it up.

Chief Executive James Lowman said: "The government is giving long overdue credit to local shops and helping them by giving practical advice on how to work together and thrive."

He said Mr Pickles' department had made "great strides in its new National planning Policy Framework that will make it harder for big out-of-town stores to open up and destroy the diversity of local parades."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Instead of hysterically drawing up emergency legislation to support a fatuous woo nonsense in a context it has no business in, maybe he should emergency legislate to provide real help to shopping parades instead of pompous and patronising sound bytes! .

    What a complete muppet!

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    pickles is an easy target for Labour
    for a variety of reasons

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Local towns, like Hay-on-Wye home of the Hay Festival?

    I believe the Powys county council are moving the local primary school out of town to build... a new supermarket.

    Who has the power there I ask?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    are these the same businesses that the tax man is going after instead of the big businesses that avoid enough tax to clear the deficit. pickles is a joke Local Authorities are wasting billions of pounds and he sits there telling people to suck eggs with no substance behind the advice to help them acheive the goal. another job title that should be gotten rid of in time of austerity/efficiency.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    It's the rents and rates costs that are killing them , hobby shops and local specialities simply cannot compete with the massive advantages of large chains.
    A simple measure which is under Pickles direct control - vary the number of stores a company owns. 1 multiply by 0, so rates free, for a large chain say 100 plus then it is rates x 1.5 nominal. Level the playing field.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Although there is no disputing the effect that large supermarkets have had on smaller shops, the proprietors of the smaller shops are sometimes their own worst enemy. I have seen them at the large supermarkets buying essentials like bread and milk, but also things on offer, then re-selling them in their own shops at a vastly marked up price. It's little wonder people refuse to buy from them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    We don't need Mr Pickles to tell us what to do - we need to tell him to look after our local shops first and big chain supermarkets last.

    Isn't the problem with us, the shoppers? If we don't support the local shops by using them there is not much the government can do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    "Shadow minister Roberta Blackman-Woods, for Labour, said: "This is further gesture politics"

    So labour respond to gesture politics with, err, gesture politics!

    Pickles is a known fool, that labour spends time criticising Pickles when there are ongoing issues such as Syria & the Euro sums labour, no substance, top to bottom!

    If labour had an idea it would be lonely!

    C McK

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    It's the Business Rates (council tax) charged on shop premises by the local authorities that is the cause of the problem. Were it not for that, landlords of shop premises would be able to lease their shops for a small rent (rather than keep boarded up) to entrepreneurial local people who would be prepared to run a small shop for a low income. With massive rates that becomes an impossibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Until people stop buying from the big chain stores & start buying in the small local shops it will be impossible to revive the High Street. I'm as bad as the next person, time means I prefer to get everything in one shop rather than go to several as I am sure many others do. Pickles has obviously never run his own local shop & probably never shops in one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    If Prescott was still sticking his nose in, he would have had them condemned by now.
    Most city centres don't have the money that London & Manchester does, so they have to make do.
    It's not cheap to replace concrete jungles and what's the point when so many shops will be empty anyway?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Here in Bradford where Eric Pickles was on the council, the domination of the suburbs by the Morrisons supermarkets made many shopping areas in villages into ghost towns! The way supermarkets have killed off our shops and pubs is a dreadful misjudgement and we are all paying the price.
    The big names are now screwing the consumers as they have it sewn up!
    Where will it end?

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Shopping parades are tatty due to economic depression caused by politicians' mismanagement of the economy.

    It seems somewhat ironic that Eric Pies then feels it necessary to lecture shopkeepers and local authorities in this manner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Whilst Pickle's comments are virtually meaningless I notice the Labour quotes, as per usual, only serve to criticise rather than offer any viable alternative suggestions. The continuation of point scoring yah boo politics that is preventing us getting out the economic mire. New elections need to be held with no existing MP allowed to stand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Pickles is in no position to judge others on matters of appearance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Typical Tory advise. Kick out the louts BUT we won't help you do that because we are cutting the police numbers!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Why are small French towns so inviting to shop in? Because there are no Extra, Metro or other chain stores within miles. Because they sell good local products at reasonable prices.

    We don't need Mr Pickles to tell us what to do - we need to tell him to look after our local shops first and big chain supermarkets last.


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