News > Legislation

The Portas Review: Recommendations could benefit high street restaurants and pubs

By Emma Eversham , 13-Dec-2011

Related topics: Business, Legislation, Restaurants, Pubs & Bars

Recommendations put forward in a review of the UK’s high streets released by retail guru Mary Portas today could not only bring in more diners to town centre restaurants and pubs but could also make more sites available for operators looking to expand.

The Portas Review could help bring life back to the high street

The Portas Review could help bring life back to the high street

The independent review of the future of the high street, compiled by Portas for the Government, suggests a number of ways to bring life back to ailing town centres where vacancy rates have increased two fold in the past two years.

In her report, some of the things Portas recommends include:

  • Empowering successful Business Improvement Districts to take on more responsibilities and powers and become ‘Super-BIDs’
  • Legislating to allow landlords to become high street investors by contributing to their Business Improvement District
  • Implementing free controlled parking schemes in some local areas
  • Addressing the restrictive aspects of the ‘Use Class’ system to make it easier to change the uses of key properties on the high street
  • Encouraging a contract of care between landlords and their commercial tenants by promoting the leasing code and supporting the use of lease structures other than upward only rent reviews, especially for small businesses
  • Empowering local authorities to step in when landlords are negligent with new ‘Empty Shop Management Orders’

Earlier this year, restaurant operators called on the British Hospitality Association (BHA), which itself contributed to the review, to lobby the Government over planning laws which currently make it difficult to change the use of existing units from retail to restaurant use.

A survey by Allegra found that 56 per cent of restaurant operators were finding it difficult to find suitable sites despite many high streets hosting empty retail units which could be transformed into restaurants if a change of use was permitted.

Help for pubs

The news was also welcomed by the pub sector.

Responding to the report, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds, said: “There are some good ideas that would help pubs – we certainly need action on punitive business rates, and a more flexible planning system to help pubs to be part of a high street revival. I am pleased to see an enhanced role proposed for Business Improvement Districts, something we have championed at the BBPA.

“We need more flexibility in the Use Class Orders, looking at amalgamating the leisure classes and greater flexibility between C1 (Hotels) and C3 (Dwelling Houses).

“I hope the Government responds positively to these proposals, as Mary Portas deserves to succeed in putting the high street higher up the political agenda.”

The Federation of Small Businesses also welcomed Portas’ views on parking, business rates and its ‘town centre first’ policy.

National chairman John Walker said: “The lack of affordable town centre parking is driving trade away from the high street to out of town retail sites. In a recent survey of FSB members, 50 per cent said that the availability of parking had a detrimental effect on their business."

BigHighlights

Michael Warren on heading up Harbour Hotels, his Hotel du Vin experience and why no two days are the same in hospitality
Small talk

Michael Warren on heading up Harbour Hotels, his Hotel du Vin experience and why no two days are the same in hospitality

Michael Warren spent 17 years at Hotel du Vin and Malmaison, helping with the development and expansion...

People on the Move in Hospitality: August 2014

People on the Move in Hospitality: August 2014

We've rounded up some of the latest movers and shakers in the hospitality industry, with the past...

60-Second Skill with Nigel Haworth: finely chopped onion

60-Second Skill with Nigel Haworth: finely chopped onion

Being able to chop finely is an essential skill if you want to make sauces or stocks...

Dish Deconstucted: José Pizarro's roasted monkfish with Serrano ham, black olives and thyme

Dish Deconstucted: José Pizarro's roasted monkfish with Serrano ham, black olives and thyme

At the recent Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress, chef and restaurateur José Pizarro revealed the method behind a dish full...

Infographic: How to handle angry customers

Infographic: How to handle angry customers

Dealing with angry customers can be one of the most difficult, stressful and challenging parts of working...

Joanne Barratt: Pearls of Wisdom
Pearls of Wisdom

Joanne Barratt: Pearls of Wisdom

QHotels’ group operations manager talks about how important a strong team culture is in maintaining excellent standards...

Find us on Facebook

Digital Edition - Restaurant Magazine

Access to the Restaurant Magazine digital edition