Local Government Minister John Healey called on the retail sector and local authorities to work more closely to bring investment to deprived areas yesterday.

Speaking ahead of the BCSC conference next week in Gateshead he published a ‘how to’ guide that said that retail-led regeneration could provide employment and training in deprived areas as well as offering competitive advantages to business.

Retail therapy

In the guide called Under-served Markets: Retail and Regeneration he said: 'The guide shows that strong local partnerships between the public and private sectors are crucial to success. We recognise that this can be challenging, but the reforms the Government has made to the planning system can assist with this process.

‘Our planning policy for town centres sets out a positive framework for regeneration of deprived areas and I believe these will play an important part in promoting new development opportunities.’

Regeneration effect

The guide was compiled by a joint initiative between the Communities and Local Government department and interest group Business in the Community.

It included funding for pilot projects looking at how best to stimulate private sector investment in areas of deprivation.

Healey pointed to one of the projects in Oldham where a partnership between the local authority and Tesco led to the opening of a new store, creating around 400 jobs - many of which went to the long term unemployed.

The guide will be rolled out at forthcoming regional workshops.