Review to slam out of town retail

Kasmira Jefford
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RETAIL expert Mary Portas, who is charged with saving the ailing British high street, is tomorrow set to unveil a list of proposals including new taxes on out-of-town car parks, a “town centre first” policy and plans for a national market day.

The high street review, commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron seven months ago, is expected to lay out more than 30 recommendations aimed at halting the rising number of shop vacancies and bringing retailers back to town centres.

Portas, who has not been paid for her work, hopes to encourage retailers as well as customers to return to the high street. Controversially she is expected to call for a curb on new out-of-town centres. She is also expected to recommend changes to regulations such as restrictions on night-time deliveries and noise.

The presenter of the Mary Queen of Frocks television show came under fire last week after it emerged that she had not been in touch with a number of the larger high street retailers leading the shift from high street to out-of-town centres.

The department for Business Innovation and Skills, which officially commissioned the report, refused to comment on claims that Portas had declined to meet with fashion retailers Next and had not approached other groups including Primark, the stationary chain WH Smith and electronics retailer Dixons.