Think tank calls on ODPM to force developers to include independents shops in their developments.

An economics think tank has called on the ODPM to force developers to allocate part of every retail development to independent outlets.

The move, proposed by the New Economics Foundation, is designed to combat the problem of “clone towns” that lack variety and local character. The NEF claims the directive could work in a similar way to the requirements to include affordable housing on residential developments.

The NEF attack on the proliferation of high street chains follows a survey of over 100 UK towns. The survey named Exeter as the worst “clone town” in Britain, as it has only one independent shop in its main high street. 48% of London streets were also criticised for their anonymity.