In a report commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron set to be released today, Portas will make 28 recommendations to save British high streets from the crisis point reached after years of neglect.
Her recommendations will include the creation of an annual national market day to promote local marketplaces, easing restrictions on overnight deliveries to town-centre shops, and relaxing licensing rules to encourage entrepreneurs to establish market stalls. She will also call on local governments to cut through the red tape surrounding parking restrictions to lure shoppers back to town centres.
I believe that our high streets can be lively, dynamic, exciting and social places that give a sense of belonging and trust to a community. A sense of belonging which, as the recent riots demonstrated, has been eroded and in some instances eradicated, Portas told the Telegraph.
The "Queen of Shops" said the economic downturn, growth of out-of-town superstores and rise of online shopping have coalesced to create an impossible situation for many town-centre traders. Vacancy rates have soared over the last two years, leaving one in seven shops on UK high streets empty.
Reviving town centres will require creative thinking, Portas said.
What Im proposing is that we look at our high street in a different way, she told the BBC, and we look at it as a multi-functional social and shopping high street, so that we create footfall back on the high street for other uses just than shopping.More