Agenda item

Background Information: Reviews by other Local Authorities

As per the Panel’s request for comparisons to other local authorities, information is attached regarding neighbourhood parade reviews conducted by:


·       Slough Borough Council

·       Knowsley Borough Council.


The Panel is asked to note the final reports of these reviews and the resulting policies.




The Chair introduced the item to the Panel, which set out details of two reviews of neighbourhood parade shop policies by other local authorities.  The reviews by Slough Borough Council and Knowsley Borough Council were said to be detailed and informative.  Although the Panel recognised that there were differences in how Crawley’s parades were managed, it was hoped that useful information could be drawn from each review to assist the Panel in its own considerations.


As part of a discussion on Slough Borough Council’s policy on use classes, the Asset Manager confirmed that, in Crawley, shop leases included clauses to allocate a unit’s specific use.  This was said to allow the Council, in its role as landlord, to monitor the balance of trades and have some control over ‘doubling-up’ of the same trade on a parade.  The Panel noted that following recent changes to the use classes, with the addition of a use class E, the use of a retail unit is not now so easily controlled by the Council when acting in its role as the Local Planning Authority. As Licensing Authority the Council has control over off-licences.


The Panel was asked to note the changes to use classes recently made by the Government.  Takeaway establishments had become ‘sui generis’ while various class A, B and D establishments had been amalgamated into a single class E.


In response to a question from a Panel member about encouraging a wider variety of traders to take up parade units, the Asset Manager outlined the Council’s tenancy process.  It was heard that individuals were able to register with the Council their interest in becoming a shop tenant.  Any vacant units were advertised online by the letting agent, Graves Jenkins, which was also given the list of interested persons.  Any offers made to the Council in respect of the vacant unit were then considered.  In doing so the Council did not focus only on finances, but aimed to select a tenant proposing a suitable use class.  It was clarified that the Council did not require vacant units to be taken up by specific use classes; it could only consider those tenants/uses that had made offers.  Panel members expressed support for traditional trades taking up leases on the parades.


It was heard that advice was provided by the Council’s Business and Economic Development team to those starting their own businesses, which included information on becoming a parade shop tenant.  Furthermore a free online advertising service for parade shops was currently under construction by the Council’s web team.


Other matters discussed were:


·         Incentives to encourage certain types of trade

·         The sending of regular questionnaires to shop tenants

·         Allocations of maintenance responsibilities and waste services

·         Advice/signposting given by the Council to new tenants

·         The extent of the Council’s influence on encouraging parade shops to be ‘responsible retailers’, e.g. environmental impact and healthy food standards

·         The Council’s policy on the residential units above some parade shops.


It was suggested that Panel members keep these matters in mind throughout the process of the review and re-visit the reports for further information when necessary.




·         That officers undertake research to gather further information on the various matters raised by the Panel.


Supporting documents: