Key element of Portas plan is rejected

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The Independent Online

The Government is to shy away from implementing one of the most controversial recommendations of Mary Portas, the TV presenter, for all out-of-town retail developments to be approved by ministers.

Apart from rejecting this proposal, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will today say it plans to implement in full, or partially, the other 27 recommendations made by Ms Portas, the self-styled Queen of Shops, in her report in December.

The Government's decision to pass on the proposal to introduce an "exceptional sign off" by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for all new out-of-town developments will come as a huge relief to larger retailers, particularly the big supermarkets.

The British Retail Consortium said that the Government's response to Ms Portas's report "doesn't live up to her bigger ambition to revitalise our high streets", citing the small scale of its funding. The Government is to introduce a £10m "High Street Innovation Fund" to help bring shops back to certain areas, which could see £30m going to support start-up businesses, if private firms contribute.

A DCLG spokesman said: "We have accepted almost all of Mary Portas's recommendations."