Monday, 11 February 2008

Applause for the Royal Borough

It is true that they are not the only Royal Borough, not even within Greater London, but I have to say that Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council are winning my vote with their well considered ideas and views on retailing within their Borough.

There's is a borough with some significant retail related names - there's Harrods for one, and certainly London's antique capital - the Portobello Road, and what about Notting Hill and Kensington High Street. This borough, hemmed in by the City of Westminster in the east and Hammersmith and Fulham borough in the west, has a real feel for the need for market differentiation and diversification.

I would recommend that every planning authority with one or more retail hubs within its boundaries take heed of the report published by the Retail Commission set up by the Leader of the Council, chaired by the Mayor and including such luminaries as Sir Terence Conran. It makes recommendations to government to change the planning law; it makes recommendations to local authorities (especially its own!) and also to others with a vested interest in retail centres.

The Commission reported and, this is where the applause needs to start, not only was the Council brave enough to enable the Commission, but when it reported the Council went on to support the vast majority of its recommendations. There are too many to report here, but suffice to say that they recognise the needs of SMEs, they recognise the importance of SMEs to the local economy and, they recognise the need for market differentiation, even with adjacent centres.

Well done, the Royal Borough!

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