A Lancashire retail leader has blasted the Government’s latest plan to revive the high street as “a gimmick.”
Elaine Silverwood, the chairman of the Kirkham Business Group, said plans unveiled yesterday to bring in ‘pop up shops’ to plug voids in high streets would not solve the problems.
She was one of a number of retail leaders invited to Westminster for the launch of the initiative by local growth minister Mark Prisk on Tuesday.
He said the Government would provide support to firms looking to set up in empty units to breathe new life into key shopping districts.
Miss Silverwood said: “For a high street like Kirkham where the vacant units are small in the first place there is no benefit.
“I think the Government is looking for a gimmick they can get a headline from rather than looking at the real problems.
“If they knew the number of retailers hanging on by their fingertips their response might be different.”
She said there “may be benefits” of the proposals if large units came available in bigger towns and cities, such as Preston and Blackpool.
The retailer added: “They would have to be very carefully monitored to avoid a free for all, there is no point in getting people in to fill a place for a fortnight at Christmas, that is not original.
“It has to be about creating something lasting, not here today, gone tomorrow.”
Mr Prisk said the Government was “committed to rejuvenating” high streets of Britain and said it would support ‘town teams’, set up last year in places like Kirkham to push the growth of the high street.
It set up a pop up shop in the Department for Communities and Local Government headquarters in London on Tuesday.