UK planning laws to be changed to allow shops to install click-and-collect lockers

Moves are billed as boost to the high street with click-and-collect predicted to double in the next three years

Click and collect lockers at Waitrose
Click and collect lockers at Waitrose

Planning laws are to be changed to allow retailers to install click-and-collect lockers without having to get planning permission.

The moves, which are being billed as a boost to the high street, will come into operation on April 15.

Internet shopping has challenged many traditional high street retailers in recent years but others have seen the advantage of allowing customers to shop online and then pick up their products at handy central locations.

As part of that trend, click-and-collect services have been predicted to double within three years.

The new measures are part of a wider package put forward to support the high street, which also include a feasibility study into the establishment of a one-stop-shop offering advice to local retailers, councils and trading groups on how to compete on the digital high street.

The study will be led by Google’s UK sales director Peter Fitzgerald and will look at the technology, training, advice, skills and infrastructure that smaller traders need to adapt to the new way people shop and use their town centres.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Far from threatening the high street, online shopping offers a new opportunity. How we shop is changing radically and I want to help our high streets thrive from online competition.

“Today’s measures will mean even more retailers can offer ‘click and collect’ services, encouraging shoppers to visit their businesses and pick up their purchases at a time that suits them.

“It’s just one of a range of measures we’re taking to boost the Great British high street, encourage shoppers to the town centre and get shops to grow and thrive.”

High Streets Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “We know digital is the way forward for our high streets and initiatives like the Digital Index will help traders and businesses to compete more effectively.

“I am delighted these industry experts will take forward this work and am sure their advice, training, expertise and support will allow local retailers to reach their full potential.

“High streets contribute billions of pounds to the economy and the Government is committed to supporting them as part of our long-term economic plan to create jobs and boost local communities.”

The rise of online shopping and other changes in the way customers behave have hit traditional retailers, with the number of shops closing last year rising despite signs of an economic recovery.

The Government has introduced a number of measures that bid to rejuvenate the high street, and last week said it would be reviewing the business rates system over concerns that it penalises older businesses with large property presences.

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