By Petah Marian
The UK government has revealed plans that will help more British retailers offer click-and-collect services by freeing them to make changes to their premises.
The government said the moves will ensure the rise of internet shopping supports local shopping, rather than competing with town centres.
Figures show that the UK is the biggest user of “click and collect” with 35% of online shoppers using this service – that figure is forecast to double within the next three years.
Under the plans, shops would be able to build new “click and collect” facilities, such as covered collection points or lockers, without making a planning application.
The proposals would also enable retailers to install new loading bay doors and ramps without first seeking planning permission – leaving them well placed to accept more deliveries for local online shoppers to collect.
The plans will exclude listed buildings and will not allow the size of an existing loading bay to increase by more than 20%. Any new click-and-collect facilities could only be within the boundaries of existing premises, such as the car park.
“Click and collect is set to be the next big thing on the high street, as discerning online shoppers look to the convenience of the high street as much as their computer screens,” said high streets minister Penny Mordaunt.
“Today’s proposals would help not just larger retailers but also independent and smaller shops to benefit, ensuring their premises were fit for the needs of the 21st century shopper.”