Moratorium call on out-of-town retail malls

A MORATORIUM on out-of-town shopping centres is being called for by an organisation representing ‘small businesses’.

Says the Federation of Small Businesses, in a manifesto aimed at candidates contesting the upcoming local government elections (on May 5): “Councils should… boost the economic recovery of local places by rejecting applications for out-of-town retail developments for the next five years.”

The manifesto includes a six-point appeal to councils, including purchasing more goods and services from local suppliers.

The FSB estimates (here) that Scottish councils have a combined procurement budget of around £7bn, but spend less than a third (29.1 per cent) of it with businesses from within their boundaries. The concept of purchasing more locally has been spearheaded by the Lancashire town of Preston (here).

Says the manifesto: “In acknowledging the lack of funds available within local government to transform every one of our towns, villages and cities, we believe councils should, first and foremost, put their town centres first. This will require bold action to reject applications for out-of-town retail developments for the next five years.”

The manifesto can be read, here.

Update: The British Retail Consortium reported, here on April 8 2022, that footfall on Scotland’s High Streets had fallen, year-on-year, by 21.1 per cent.

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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