RETAIL Retail is a key part of our regional economy employing significant numbers and is central to the life and vitality of our cities, towns and village centres. Retail plays a central role in placemaking and creating attractive liveable environments, enabling strong mixed-use urban cores and facilitating regeneration. The retail landscape is constantly changing and in recent years the trend to online shopping has had profound negative impact on our settlements. There is a need to adapt to the continuous development of shopping habits and retail, including a significantly improved customer experience of visiting settlement centres. This is a significant planning challenge to provide alternative and attractive uses within our cities, towns and villages. The locationofmuchof the retail activity inour settlement centres is supported by the Guidelines on Retail Planning 2012 and the principles of compact growth. Retail can be a catalyst for the renewal of city, town and village centres, supported by initiatives such as town centre health checks to identify potential improvements to the public realm and streetscapes. The RSES supports investment in placemaking and improving the public realm to provide more attractive and vibrant settlement centres which support retail activity and the wider commercial economy of our settlements. It also recognises the importance of the tourism sector, with retail services contributing to the attractiveness for tourists and tourist visitors increasing footfall and increased vibrancy. As a Smart Region, the RSES champions innovation in the retail sector in response to changing patterns of activity, including online retail. The retail business model is evolving in a digital direction and retail should be a central part of any digital strategy. A Smart city or town centre should attract consumers by offering a unique retail experience and this experience should evolve in line with data collected around shopping preferences and behaviour. The RSES supports mechanisms to support traditional retailers in the transition to technology led, experiential retail models. The RSES supports the full implementation of the Retail Planning Guidelines to ensure that retail development is focussed on settlement centres with the application of a sequential approach for retail development. Inurban areas extending across local authority boundaries, development plans and local area plans must be informed by joint or multi-authority retail strategies.
Retail It is an objective to: a. Improve the physical appearance, vitality and vibrancy of city centre, town centre and village locations through collaboration between Planning Authorities and Retail Traders Associations in regeneration / public realm projects and other measures; b. Ensure that retail development is focussed on
urban and village centres with the application of a sequential approach to consideration of retail development which does not fall into this category; Prepare Retail Strategies in accordance with the Retail Planning Guidelines including Joint Retail Strategies where applicable. Proposed public realm or urban regeneration projects should be assessed for potential impacts on the receiving environment including capacity of existing services at project level. Where public realm or urban regeneration projects would significantly increase shopper/visitor numbers, planning authorities should ensure that projects include sustainablemanagement of increased demand for access to city/town centre locations.
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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