London’s economy is losing £350m due to its 7 percent retail vacancy rate, according to a new report published by London Councils, the lobbying group tasked with promoting the interest of London’s 33 councils. The report entitled ‘Streets Ahead? Putting high streets at the heart of local economic growth’, has recommended diversifying our high streets to prevent continued decline in town centres.

London Councils recommendations include making changes to the use class order system and placing less emphasis on retail when planning town centres. The measures aim to rejuvenate the capitals high streets and take advantage of the associated economic benefits of successful town centres.

This report comes amid of fierce debate surrounding the future of the nation’s high streets, including, the Government’s current consultation on retail-to-residential conversion laws and the early release of Bill Grimsey’s recommendations for high streets resulting from his alternative review of the high street.

With a rapidly increasing online retail sector along with significant growth in out of town retail space, a large number of industry experts including the authors of the report by London Councils are arguing that mixed-use centres are a necessary measure to secure the future of our high streets.

The full report can be found here.