Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has signed a motion against Tory-Lib Dem Government changes which deny communities the right to shape their high streets and stop payday lending and betting shops taking over.
Last month the Government laid before Parliament The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013. It came into force on May 30 and changed the rules on high street planning without any parliamentary debate.
The new rules mean that a number of types of business will no longer have to apply for permission to convert a building for a new business use. This will make it easier for payday lenders, betting shops and the other businesses to continue their sprawl along the high streets and will make it harder for councils and communities to have a say in the future of their town centres.
Bill Esterson said this is the opposite of what our high streets need.
Nationally there are 20% more payday loan shops than a year ago and 3.3% more betting shops. These are taking the place of independent retailers, clothes shops and health food shops.
Labour wants to give new powers to councils and local people to support their high streets, by allowing councils to encourage the types of businesses they want to see whilst cutting down on the spread of others like payday lenders.
Bill said: "Our town centre should be at the heart of our community but too many shops in our communities in Formby, Maghull, Crosby and throughout Sefton Central are lying empty or being forced out by more and more payday lenders and betting shops.
"I want to see real powers given to local people to stand up for their high street and ensure that it is somewhere that they and their neighbours want to shop and spend time.
"The fact that the Government is doing the opposite of what Labour has been calling for by denying, rather than strengthening, the right of local people to have say in the future of their high streets is simply shocking.”
In Maghull, Bill has given his backing to the local Town Team which has ambitious plans for Central Square.
Bill said: "Maghull Town Team is planning big things for Central Square after receiving £17,000 from Labour-run Sefton Council to turn some of their fantastic ideas into reality.
"Cllr Patrick McKinley and Cllr Lynn Gatherer are working as part of the Maghull Town Team to make improvements in the square to bring customers back in. But with the new Tory-Lib Dem Government planning changes, they are further removing the local community from the decision making process and condemning our town centres.
"I have signed the EDM to voice my opposition to these changes and I will continue to work with the team locally to get the best for Maghull."
In Formby, Bill is organising a meeting for traders and locals to voice their views on what they want for the Village.
Bill said: "I have met with a number of the traders on a number of occasions now to discuss their very valid concerns about Formby Village and also to hear their ideas on how we can make the improvements to increase footfall.
"I know that Formby Parish Council is already doing some fantastic work on making aesthetic improvements to the Village, but I want to bring all the stakeholders together to discuss ways in which, during these tough economic times, we can make the improvements that we all want to see.
"How can we get the customers back in the Village? How can we attract more retailers?
"We already have some fantastic shops here, we need to build on that.
"My fear is that these latest Tory-Lib Dem Government changes will end up blighting our community centres, like Formby Village, taking the real decision making out of the hands of the local community.
"I have signed the EDM to voice my opposition to these changes and I will continue to work with our local councillors, Formby Parish Council, local businesses and members of the community to get the best for Formby."
In Crosby, Bill has backed the Crosby Town Team's bid to kickstart the regeneration of the Village, but fears the Tory-Lib Dem Government's planning changes could set them back.
Bill said: "I know that Rev Pete Spiers and the Crosby Town Team is working on bringing key stakeholders together to hear all their views on what they want from and for the Village, but my biggest fear is that these government changes will mean that changes in the Village will be taken out of the hands of the local community.
"It is the community that must be at the heart of any decisions that are being made for the our shopping centres. It is the community that will make our shopping centres succeed.
"That is why I have signed the EDM to voice my opposition to these changes and I will continue to work with the Town Team, our local councillors and the local community to get the best for Crosby."