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London Assembly calls for ‘innovative approaches’ to tackle declining town centres

The London Assembly has warned that town centres must make a ‘fundamental shift’ to ‘reinvent themselves’

Responding to the Mayor’s draft supplementary planning guidance, the assembly called for ‘more visionary encouragement for innovative, integrated approaches and stronger links with other Mayoral strategies’ in order to help London’s town centres remain relevant to their communities.

Calling for public services to return to town centres, the report by the assembly has said that town centres must change from being primarily shopping destinations to dynamic and mixed centres for communities.

Nicky Gavron, chair of the planning committee said: ‘London’s high streets and town centres are the heart of our communities. In an age of out-of-town and online shopping, the Mayor must do more to help town centres make the fundamental shift they need to be distinctive and thrive.

‘The Mayor’s town centre SPG needs to offer more support to boroughs than just a couple of examples of pop-up shops and novelty markets. It’s time to stop rearranging the deckchairs and start looking at a radical reinvention of the traditional town centre.’

The assembly has criticised the ‘lack of solid examples’ in the draft planning guidance, and have called on the Mayor to produce best practice examples of good town centre management.

The report also urges the Mayor to monitor the impact of office-to-resi planning changes on the development of town centres.

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