City Plan policies protect local shops and parades

Special policies to protect shopping parades, pubs and independent retailers will support local businesses and encourage community wealth-building in different areas of the city.

The policies are included in the second part of the City Plan, which will be discussed at the first ‘virtual’ council meeting this Thursday, 23 April. The Plan will be used to guide development for the next 10 years.

If agreed there will be a further opportunity to comment on the Plan. The council will consider the best time to carry out public consultation after the coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions are lifted.

Protecting local shops

City Plan Part 2 is set to benefit high street retailers with new planning policy allowing a broader range of town centre uses. It recognises changes to the high street, which will be increasingly important as the city moves into recovery following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Councillor Alan Robins, lead member for tourism, equalities, communities and culture, said: “During the current lockdown we’ve come to appreciate how important our local shops are. Being able to pop down to your local shop for essentials has been vital in helping to keep people safe and making sure they don’t have to travel far for food, medicines and other essentials.

“Equally we are missing the independent shops and pubs in our neighbourhoods that have had to close at this time. New policies in the City Plan highlight the important role of community facilities, pubs, markets and local shops, so it’s more important than ever that we use them to protect, support and help grow our local, independent businesses.”

The City Plan’s policies aim to protect local shops and shopping parades in residential areas which provide access to day to day necessities.

Protecting local pubs

A significant number of pubs have been lost to other uses in Brighton & Hove in recent years, and a new ‘Public Houses’ policy will protect pubs in recognition of their  contribution to local communities.

The policy outlines that planning permission will not be granted for redevelopment and/or change of use unless it can be demonstrated that the pub is not economically viable, the local community no longer needs it and there is an alternative to meet the needs of residents in the locality. Where an alternative use can be justified, priority will be given to re-using the premises or site for the community.

Shopping parades

City Plan Part 2 also identifies ‘Important Local Parades’ across the city in recognition of the key role they play in providing services such as newsagents, convenience stores, pharmacies and post offices within walking distance from residents’ homes. 

They include:

  • Cowley Drive, Woodingdean
  • Islingword Road , Brighton
  • Woodland Parade, Hove
  • Valley Road, Portslade.

Other shopping parades are protected under the ‘Neighbourhood Parades’ policy, as are individual shops.

Protecting the high street and independent shops

One of the suggestions from public consultation on the City Plan Part 2 was to create a new ‘Local Centre’ for Brunswick Town. This would give this vibrant area of small shops greater protection and enhance the vitality of the area.

North Laine and The Lanes are included in a policy which recognises the need to maintain its unique independent retail sector by ensuring that changes of use would not result in a group of three or more adjoining units being used for non-retail.

New policy will allow more flexibility on the high street, in recognition that the nature of retailing is changing with more online shopping and different types of businesses. Planning policy on the high street will be flexible to allow for other town centre uses such as ‘pop up’ shops and cultural or community uses when properties become vacant.

Supporting businesses as they grow

Policies in the plan also highlight the need to provide affordable, flexible and fit for purpose work space for new and expanding businesses to support their needs as they grow and encourage apprenticeships and local job training opportunities.

Read the reports for the council meeting (City Plan Part 2 is agenda item number 88). The meeting will be webcast.

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