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 37.

    It surely must be right, and I am sure that we can all agree, that Mr Pickles should keep his trickle-down off our local parades. He should be encouraged to reserve that for the closed doors of the 'Tory Party' - after all, the fact of the matter is that they appear to enjoy that sort of thing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Read through the Portas proposals as it appears to be gov. only plan to use people off TV as experts:

    What is striking though is no mention of the real competition being internet and delivery firms.

    If you can't beat them join them. Gov. Should set up free internet sites for all high streets and help them set up a joint delivery service and online payment services.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    If this government really want to help small businesses how about taking a look at the business accounts banks offer?

    Most of them charge huge fees just to have the account then they make the business pay a fee to access their money and put more money into the account!

    Daylight robbery especially when the bank make huge profits from playing with the businesses money on the stock market!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I live in leafy suburb
    no need to worry empty shop wasn't there long its now an exploitative pawn brokers.

    No advice of real use in this document waste of paper,
    No new research.
    No new policies.

    Why is it always loans never investment with this gov.
    Investment still gets money back but reduces risk to individuals.
    And also only if under 25 too.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    It is that easy, is it Mr Pickles?
    Why don't you show us by tranforming a shop on the same budget as the owner can afford? And will you be there nightly to wash off the graffitti?

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    There must be some nice Towns with nice Shopping Areas.
    The problem is,total lack of information as to where they are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Oh come on Eric.

    I'm sure you're one of the best customers at your local chippy whatever it looks like...

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Once again, Pickles doesn't cut the mustard.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    #26. 151179

    Come on now. What else are we do on a cold rainy day?

    You have to let us have a little fun.
    Pushing boundaries.
    And if we are all politically correct then the poor moderators would have nothing to do.
    I'll belt up now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    My shop, the size of my sitting room; Business Rates = 2x the Council Tax on my whole house, PLUS extra for rubbish collection! Small wonder small shops die! Get taxes down. Cull charity shops. Make councils spend on clearing up neighbourhood environments, not more traffic lights, islands, mini-roundabouts, textured paving, signage galore, surveys, consultants etc. The cash is there, but wasted!

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    The frenzy of fat-related comments / lame jokes which accompany any item involving Eric Pickles is becoming really, really tiresome. By all means criticise the man's policies or opinions, but what have these to do with his weight? Are we basically saying that being fat not only now disqualifies one from full participation in society but also from being allowed to state an opinion?

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    I do wonder when the Labour party commentate on govt reports whether they have bothered reading them. If they had they would have noted that there are 2 govt funds to help.

    Ultimately local shops are by definition local. It is not national govt problem but the local authorities

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Given the increases in punitive measures small businesses and town centres have had to shoulder, these measures being either directly or indirectly, imposed by this govt, as it attempts to shore up the banks by throwing money at them, it seems his patronising comments are akin to throwing someone off a cliff and demanding that they fly by flapping their arms. Typical Tory dogma and neglect.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    The interesting thing here is that Labour actually created the conditions for shops to become run down during the 13 long years Blair and Brown governed the country.

    Roberta Blackman-Woods sounds rather foolish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Another meaning to the the phrase "Sound Bites" anyone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    While we retain a system that serves and gives primacy only to the economy, materialism and consumerism this problem will only get worse. Society has become commodified, controlled and our cultural life impoverished by corporate market dominance and advertising. Our communities and the very idea of community is trashed. Most of those "louts" are simply our young people abandoned by a sick society

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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