The Council lobbied Communities and Local Government (CLG) for
planning changes identified by the Retail Commission from 2007 to
2009, when the draft PPS4 Planning for Sustainable Economic
Development was published and it was clear that the Government was
not minded to make the changes requested.
At the Economic Development OSC in June 2009 it was decided that
the Council should continue to lobby for these changes by bringing
together a group of London boroughs that have similar concerns
about protecting their retail offers. A subsequent meeting with the
GLA led to the suggestion that the best way to achieve the desired
changes would be via a new London Local Authorities Act and the
Council wrote to all London boroughs in November 2009 asking for
their support for this proposal.
We received 13 responses, ten in favour and three
against. In July 2010 London Councils declined to
support our proposed London Local Authorities Act because
of the diversity of opinion that exists across London boroughs on
In addition in autumn 2009 the Council gave
verbal [PDF] evidence to the GLA’s Planning
and Housing Committee review of measures designed to protect
London’s local shops. The Committee's report Cornered
Shops recommending the Mayor should change his policies to
give councils more ways to protect local shops from retail
development can be viewed here.
In March 2010 a petition to the Prime
Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street, Number10/petitions
calling for changes to the planning system to allow councils to
protect small shops and antiques arcades was submitted by Cllr Tim
Ahern, Cabinet Member for Regeneration.
The petition received more than 500 signatures
but in September 2010 the Government gave the following
response declining to make the changes requested.
In October 2010 Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, Leader of the Council,
wrote to Eric Pickles, Minister for Communities and Local
Government, explaining that the Council does not have the power to
protect areas like Portobello Road and asking for the changes
recommended by the Retail Commission be included in
forthcoming planning legislation. His letter can be seen
In January 2011 the Executive Director of
Planning and Borough Development met with civil servants at
Communities and Local Government to discuss the points raised in
the Leader's letter and was informed there was no appetite amongst
Ministers to make changes to primary planning legislation that the
Retail Commission recommendations would require.
In December 2011 the Portas
Review was published making a number of recommendations on the
future of the high street.
response [PDF] to these recommendations and the Goverment
The Government's formal response [PDF]