The man who at the helm of making Brighton one of the best places in Britain to shop has been awarded a qualified ‘thumbs up‘ to the report by the Queen of Retail, Mary Portas, into how High Streets around the UK can be revived. A third of the country’s High Streets was “degenerating or failing,” according to official research, but Brighton is doing okay!
Tony Mernagh said that most of what Mary Portas had suggested was ‘eminently sensible.’ He said that he disagreed with her on only one point: that it should be made easier for people to become market traders and to “trade on the street”. He said: “the tension between retailers paying rents and rates, and market traders paying very little, and so riding on the back of retailers, needs to be managed very, very carefully.”
Tony Mernagh who runs the Brighton Business Forum said that the Forum was already committed to doing much of what Mary Portas had suggested – making the city centre safer, more attractive and more vibrant.
Mary Portas had been asked by the Prime Minister to write the report. In a nutshell, she suggested: -
- Town centres to run more like businesses;
- Fewer regulations for High Street traders;
- A national market day to promote indoor and outdoor markets;
- Relaxed licensing rules to make it easier for people to set up market stalls;
- Affordable town centre car parking;
- “Town centre first” approach to planning;
- A stronger community voice in planning issues;
- Disincentives for landlords who leave shops empty.