By Daniel Hunter

Changes to the National Planning Policy Framework for England which have been announced today (Tuesday) should do a lot to boost the country's high streets and encourage vibrant town centres as part of the right package of measures.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is particularly pleased the new framework includes a number of measures it lobbied for. The decision to keep the Town Centre First principle for office developments, generating daytime custom in high street areas, is a crucial one since town centres need a mix of leisure, retail and offices to make them commercially viable.

The steps to simplify the planning system send out the right message that retailers and the rest of the private sector should be supported in their ambitions to grow, invest and create jobs. A presumption in favour of sustainable development will help.

"For too long the planning system has been a brake on growth - complicated, costly and slow. These practical measures are a marked improvement and should help bring a boost to local economies," British Retail Consortium Director of Business, Tom Ironside, said.

"Retail is a competitive, innovative sector which looks to the Government to create the right conditions for growth. Making the system more transparent and efficient will enable development and should play a key role in efforts to revitalise England's troubled high streets."

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