Saturday, 27 February 2010

Election Nearing

Whilst passing Ryan Gate over the weekend I spotted a 'Support our Worcester Park Shops' poster in their window.

It's a laudable message - the call to support your local traders is one I have made many times on this blog as they are the lifeblood of Worcester Park and as regular blog readers know I make a point of buying all my fruit, veg, household items and lofts locally.

A closer look at the small print on the poster, however, revealed that it was merely a bit of pre-election publicity from the Sutton & Cheam Conservatives. They have a one-page supporting website with couple of vague paragraphs about how local Conservative MPs and Councillors would champion our local shopkeepers.

Top marks go to 'The 'Seasonal Shop' which has displayed the poster in their window but has stuck two fingers up at the electioneering by strategically folding back the bottom of the poster to hide the Conservative party blurb.

1 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Adrian Short said...

On the Conservatives local shops website in among the stuff that no-one except a Tesco executive could disagree with there is a real, actual policy suggestion. How much it's a firm commitment I have no idea.

"In particular we are opposing Labour plans to make it easier for more out-of-town development, by scrapping the so-called ‘needs test’. If implemented, this will further undermine small, town centre shops."

This refers to a planning rule that out-of-town shops have to demonstrate a "need" (ie. demand) to be given permission to expand their shops. Labour is proposing to scrap this rule and replace it with a more complex "impact assessment" which is applied by the local council, which I suppose (but Labour would deny) will give developers more wiggle room to contest refusals by councils.

While there is certainly a great deal more power that government could give councils that would help them make local plans in response to local needs and priorities, the retention of the needs test seems a worthwhile step in itself.

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