Any action taken from now onwards can only have a modest effect in dealing with the two main culprits - over-dependence on the car and the development of shopping outside the natural town centres.
However, the most important action that could be taken would be to provide limited period free parking in town centres. This would encourage motorists to use town centres and therefore assist a range of shops and other services rather than just the one big store.
A second measure would be to rate or tax the ground area covered by stores. It will always be cheaper to build outside town centres, but why should this development be taxed in a manner that also encourages a movement away from the centres?
N C Taylor
Chelmsford, EssexReuse content