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Policy E9 Retail, markets and hot food takeaways


  1. A successful, competitive and diverse retail sector, which promotes sustainable access to goods and services for all Londoners, should be supported in line with the wider objectives of this Plan, particularly for town centres (Policy SD6 Town centres, Policy SD7 Town centre network, Policy SD8 Town centres: development principles and Development Plan Documents and Policy SD9 Town centres: Local partnerships and implementation).
  2. In Development Plans, boroughs should:
    1. identify future requirements and locations for new retail development having regard to the town centre policies in this Plan and strategic and local evidence of demand and supply
    2. identify areas for consolidation of retail space where this is surplus to requirements
    3. bring forward capacity for additional comparison goods retailing particularly in International, Metropolitan and Major town centres
    4. support convenience retail in all town centres, and particularly in District, Local and Neighbourhood centres, to secure inclusive neighbourhoods and a sustainable pattern of provision where there is less need to travel
    5. provide a policy framework to enhance local and neighbourhood shopping facilities and prevent the loss of retail and related facilities that provide essential convenience and specialist shopping
    6. identify areas under-served in local convenience shopping and related services and support additional facilities to serve existing or new residential communities in line with town centre Policy SD8 Town centres: development principles and Development Plan Documents
    7. support the range of London’s markets, including street markets, covered markets, specialist and farmers’ markets, complementing other measures to improve their management, enhance their offer and contribute to the vitality of town centres and the Central Activities Zone
    8. manage existing edge of centre and out of centre retail (and leisure) by encouraging comprehensive redevelopment for a diverse mix of uses in line with Policy SD6 Town centres, Policy SD7 Town centre network, Policy SD8 Town centres: development principles and Development Plan Documents and Policy SD9 Town centres: Local partnerships and implementation to realise their full potential for housing intensification, reducing car use and dependency, and improving access by walking, cycling and public transport
    9. manage clusters of retail and associated uses having regard to their positive and negative impacts on the objectives, policies and priorities of the London Plan including:
      1. town centre vitality, viability and diversity
      2. sustainability and accessibility
      3. place-making or local identity
      4. community safety or security
      5. mental and physical health and wellbeing.
  3. Development proposals containing A5 hot food takeaway uses should not be permitted where these are within 400 metres walking distance of an existing or proposed primary or secondary school. Boroughs that wish to set a locally-determined boundary from schools must ensure this is sufficiently justified. Boroughs should also consider whether it is appropriate to manage an over-concentration of A5 hot food takeaway uses within Local, District and other town centres through the use of locally-defined thresholds in Development Plans.
  4. Where development proposals involving A5 hot food takeaway uses are permitted, these should be conditioned to require the operator to achieve, and operate in compliance with, the Healthier Catering Commitment standard.
  5. Large-scale commercial development proposals (containing over 2,500 sqm gross A Class floorspace) should support the provision of small shops and other commercial units (including affordable units where there is evidence of local need).
  6. Development proposals involving the redevelopment of surplus retail space should support other planning objectives and include alternative town centre uses on the ground floor where viable (and in accordance with town centre Policy SD8 Town centres: development principles and Development Plan Documents) and residential development.

A diverse and competitive retail sector that meets the needs of Londoners and visitors to the capital is important. Retailing is undergoing a period of continued restructuring in response to recent trends and future forecasts for consumer expenditure, population growth, technological advances and changes in consumer behaviour, with increasing proportions of spending made via the internet. As a result, retailing has evolved to become multi-channel, with a mix of physical stores, often supported by internet ‘click and collect’ in store or deliveries to homes, workplaces or pick-up points, and in other cases purely online businesses with no physical stores.

Taking into account projected growth in household, commuter and tourist spending in London, retailers making more efficient use of existing space and special forms of trading (which includes internet-related spend), it is estimated that London could have a baseline need for additional comparison goods retailing of around 1.6 million sqm over the period 2016-2041, or 1.2 million sqm when current schemes in the planning pipeline are taken into account[90].

[90] Experian, 2017 op cit.

In preparing or reviewing Development Plans, boroughs should take into account integrated strategic and local assessments of demand and capacity for both comparison and convenience goods retailing. Boroughs should plan proactively to accommodate that demand and manage the transition of surplus retail (including high street frontages, purpose-built shopping centres, malls and retail parks) to other uses in line with this and Policy SD6 Town centres, Policy SD7 Town centre network, Policy SD8 Town centres: development principles and Development Plan Documents and Policy E9 Retail, markets and hot food takeaways.

Street markets in London can play a valuable economic, social and cultural role[91] helping to meet Londoners’ varied dietary requirements, extend choice and access to a range of goods, contribute to the vitality and viability of town centres, and provide opportunities for new businesses to start-up. Several markets are of strategic importance, such as those at Portobello Road, Borough, Columbia Road and Camden for example, and offer significant attractions for Londoners and visitors to the capital. Whilst the planning system can help support the range of London’s markets, broader actions are often required in terms of management and investment. The Mayor has established the London Markets Board to help ensure that markets continue to flourish, support growth in town centres and associated high streets, and remain vibrant attractions for all Londoners and visitors to the capital.

[91] GLA Street Markets research – Understanding London’s Markets

Policy SD6 Town centres promotes a diverse range of uses to support the vitality and viability of town centres. Some retail and related uses when clustered can support town centres to develop niche or specialist roles and may provide important visitor attractions. Over-concentrations of some uses however, such as betting shops, pawnbrokers, pay-day loan stores, amusement centres and hot food takeaways, can give rise to particular concerns regarding the impact on mental and physical health and wellbeing, amenity, vitality, viability and diversity. The proliferation and concentration of these uses should be carefully managed through Development Plans, particularly in town centres that are within Strategic Areas for Regeneration (see Table A1.1), which tend to have higher numbers of these premises[92].

[92] London Town Centre Health Check, GLA 2017

Obesity is one of the greatest health challenges facing the capital. In London 38 per cent of Year 6 pupils (10 to 11 year-olds) are overweight or obese – higher than any other region in England. Children living in the most deprived areas of London are twice as likely to be obese as children living in the least deprived areas[93]. The creation of a healthy food environment, including access to fresh food, is therefore important. The number of hot food takeaways in London has been steadily rising, with London boroughs having some of the highest densities of hot food takeaways in England. More deprived areas commonly have a higher density of hot food takeaways than other areas[94].

[93] From Evidence into Action: Opportunities to Protect and Improve the Nation’s Health. Public Health England, Oct. 2014.

[94] Public Health England (2016) Fast Food Map

Hot food takeaways generally sell food that is high in calories, fat, salt and sugar, and low in fibre, fruit and vegetables. There is evidence that regular consumption of energy-dense food from hot food takeaways is associated with weight gain, and that takeaway food is appealing to children. It is recognised that the causes of obesity are complex and the result of a number of factors, and that a broad package of measures is required to reduce childhood obesity within London. A wide range of health experts recommend restricting the proliferation of hot food takeaways, particularly around schools, in order to help create a healthier food environment. Shift and night-time workers also find it particularly difficult to access healthy food due to the limited options available to them at night time.

The Healthier Catering Commitment[95] is a scheme that helps food businesses in London to provide healthier food to their customers. The scheme promotes a reduction in the consumption of fat, salt and sugar, and an increase in access to fruit and vegetables. This can also help ensure there are healthier food options available for night workers.


Commercial activity provides opportunities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to establish and contribute to the diversity of town centres. Independent businesses, including shops, cafés and restaurants, play an important role in supporting the vitality and vibrancy of town centres and local communities, and many operate from smaller premises. In parts of London, small shops and other A Class uses suitable for occupation by SMEs may be in short supply and affordability can be a key concern. Larger developments that include a significant amount of commercial floorspace should support the diversity, vitality and vibrancy of town centres by providing a range of unit sizes that include smaller premises. Where there is local evidence of need, such developments should also include affordable units (secured through planning conditions or planning obligations as appropriate).