I have signed a motion against Government changes which deny communities the right to shape their high streets.
Last month the Government laid before Parliament the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013. It came into force on 30 May 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 harder for councils and communities to have a say in the future of their town centres.
Our town centres should be at the heart of our communities but too many shops are lying empty or being forced out. I want to see real powers given to local people to support their high street and ensure that it is somewhere that they and their neighbours want to shop and spend time.