New plans would enable British high streets to adapt to meet the changing needs of today’s modern consumer, Penny Mordaunt said today (11 August 2014).
The minister said that by freeing retailers to make changes to their premises, more of them would be able to offer “click and collect” services - ensuring the rise of internet shopping supports local shops, rather than competing with town centres.
Figures show that the UK is the biggest user of “click and collect” with 35% of online shoppers using this service - and with that figure set to double within the next 3 years.
Under plans announced today, shops would be able to build new “click and collect” facilities, such as covered collection points or lockers, without making a planning application.
The proposals would also enable retailers to install new loading bay doors and ramps without first seeking planning permission - leaving them well placed to accept more deliveries for local online shoppers to collect.
There would still be key safeguards in place - for example, this new permitted development right would exclude listed buildings and would not allow the size of an existing loading bay to increase by more than 20%. And any new “click and collect” facilities could only be within the boundaries of existing premises, such as the car park.
But with leading retailers like Argos are already offering this service across their stores, this move would enable smaller and independent shops to follow suit.
High Streets Minister Penny Mordaunt said:
Click and collect is set to be the next big thing on the high street, as discerning online shoppers look to the convenience of the high street as much as their computer screens.
Today’s proposals would help not just larger retailers but also independent and smaller shops to benefit, ensuring their premises were fit for the needs of the 21st century shopper.
This is one of a range of measures the government is taking to support the revival of high streets across the country. The £1 billion package of support includes:
- a £1,000 business rate discounts for retail premises, including shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants
- an extension to the doubling of small business rate relief
- allowing businesses to pay their business rate bills over 12 months (rather than 10) to help every firm with their cash flow
Areas can also show off their great work by entering the Great British High Street competition, with winners set to receive a cash prize and support worth £50,000 - ranging from one-to-one advice, to digital marketing workshops, as well as mentoring from industry experts.
Picture courtesy of R~P~M under creative commons copyright.
Latest figures on the use of “click and collect” in the UK are included in a report from the University of Southampton.
Read more details of this proposed new development.