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PRESS RELEASE: Planners call for competitive town centres and not a return to big-box delevelopment 2006 PR2006/59

05 December 2006

The Royal Town Planning Institute has, on the release of the Barker report today,called for a more active approach to creating vibrant and competitive town centres whilst warning of a return to unsustainable out-of-town big-box development. Barker has called for replacing the test of 'need' for development with the test of'competitiveness'. However the proposal is unclear and lacks detail.

Robert Upton, Secretary General of the RTPI said: \"The RTPI has always had a proactive and positive stance on keeping town-centres vital, attractive and competitive and we can support Barker's recommendation within this context. Town centres are accessible to all and are well served by public transport and are therefore the opposite of unsustainable shed lead out-of-town shopping centres. However the devil will be in the detail.\"\"The proposed new test of competitiveness in relation to town centres is not thought through. If Barker and her team have not managed to devise such a test, how is the local planning authority supposed to do it?\"planning authority supposed to do it?\"