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Call for positive action to revive high street

Radical action – including the creation of enterprise zones, the compulsory purchase of derelict stores and rent-free deals – is required to revive the UK's ailing high streets, the head of the British Retail Consortium said yesterday.

"We all want our high streets to be regenerated, we want them to become thriving places that customers want to go to, but it needs bold action," Rob Templeman, the former chief executive of Debenhams who now chairs the retail lobby group, told Retail Symposium 2012 delegates.

He was critical of a government-sponsored initiative to regenerate high streets involving Mary Portas.

"When you propose projects with £11.5m of funding across 12-15 towns, it's not much good when you have just charged retailers £350m extra for rates," he said. "Government needs to stand up and do something positive about getting growth."