Local Shops

Bath and North East Somerset Green Party would:

  • Enable local communities to retain the character and amenity of their shopping streets through the introduction of ‘business conservation areas’
  • Ensure basic facilities (food shops, post offices and pharmacies, etc) are located within 15 minutes walk of everyone living in Bath and surrounding villages. This will be done by using the planning process to influence the retail mix and to offer subsidies or other incentives if necessary Intervene where local shops are closed down and put up for sale, and where their termination would mean that there were no local facilities available within 15 minutes walk. In such situations, where a property was not bought as a continuing commercial concern, the authority would buy the property and offer it at subsidised rent for local communities to continue to run the facility. (There are at least two shops in villages near Bath that have been re-established as going concerns by the local community. The Green Party would support and promote such local shops)
  • Oppose out of town retail parks and car-based stores
  • Insist that a substantial amount of retail space in all new developments is affordable space for small businesses, through using powers to designate community shopping areas
  • Include clear policies on sustainability to enable planning authorities to favour local businesses on ecological grounds, rather than bigger firms with less sustainable practices
  • Restrict motor vehicle access to shopping areas, and ensure, where possible, that delivery access is provided outside of this area or restricted to times that are not peak shopping times
  • Adopt a retail strategy, retail regeneration plan and local competitive policies to prevent main shopping streets from being dominated by High Street chains and businesses and to ensure fair market access for small, independent retailers. This will include retaining and extending market provision, including farmers’ markets
  • Urge central government to empower local authorities to bring in rent controls for small shop premises, to prevent landlords from driving up rents and driving out independent retailers
  • Council-owned property that is hard to let should be offered on short term leases at greatly reduced rent and rates to start-up shops and businesses.

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