14/07/2006

Government plan to protect town retailers

The government has revealed plans to protect town centre shopping from out of town retailers.

Regional Development Minister David Cairns has today issued the Draft Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5), for Retailing, Town Centres and Commercial Leisure Developments, which sets out policies for retailing and commercial leisure developments in cities, towns, other centres and settlements throughout Northern Ireland.

This will now go out for a four month consultation period to allow for feedback from businesses who may be affected by the policy.

This will influence the future pattern of retailing by redressing the balance between out of town and town centre shopping.

Commenting on the policy, Regional Development Minister David Cairns today said: “The policy addresses a number of key issues including sustaining and enhancing town centres, the promotion of sustainability, accessible locations, quality of design and offering consumer choice.

“The proposed PPS5 will promote the town centre as the first choice for the location of commercial leisure developments, making an important contribution to the vitality and viability of town centres."

The Minister concluded: “I encourage everyone with an interest in these matters to comment on the policy, which in effect will guide the location of retail development in Northern Ireland, for the foreseeable future.”

This Planning Policy Statement will ultimately replace PPS 5 Retailing and Town Centres, published by Department of the Environment (DOE) in 1996.

Copies of the draft and its accompanying documents are available from www.drdni.gov.uk/shapingourfuture.

(EF/SP)

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