The government is proposing a shake-up of planning laws to give local councils more power to protect high streets and safeguard small shops when considering applications to build out-of-town superstores.

Hazel Blears, communities secretary, said it was 'imperative' that the government helped small shops 'during the challenging times they are facing'.

Under the proposals, councils will be required to consider how out-of-town sites will impact on town centres before giving the go-ahead to new developments.

Financial Times