Retailers are to be encouraged to develop in town and city centres under a revised planning policy statement issued by deputy prime minister John Prescott.
Speaking at the Planning and Productivity conference, Prescott said that PPS6 would encourage retailers to move away from out-of-town developments.

He said: "PPS6 reaffirms our commitment to town centres and encourages the urban renaissance we are experiencing in many cities."

Prescott said regional and local planning authorities should take the initiative to work closely with the private sector, and that they ought to identify town-centre and edge-of-centre sites for retail, leisure and mixed-use development.

PPS6 will require local authorities to plan for growth in town centres and will encourage their expansion to help further development.

Planning minister Keith Hill said the policy was a step in the right direction and would help regenerate rundown town centres.

He said: "Large town centres are thriving, the challenge now is to ensure that smaller town centres also share their success, while avoiding massive superstores being built on out-of-town greenfield."

Prescott added that planning must be a positive force to achieve aims. He said: "It must be about quality of life and creating sustainable communities." He said planning allows the government to manage development in a measured way.