"CABE is afraid that, due to the economic slump, supermarket developments are likely to be the only regeneration available to British towns in the near future, and "short-term economic gain will not compensate for the loss of local character and ability to change and adapt easily".
The warning comes after a shift in planning policy away from the giant out-of-town supermarkets now common to greenfield sites and on ringrounds in British towns and cities. The latest policy encourages development in town centres first, in order to promote sustainable economic growth. But the new in-town supermarkets are not being sufficiently well-designed to account for local context, according to CABE.
"Many schemes are simply repeating old out-of-town proposals – typically big, plain buildings in a large car park, which are unsuitable for town centres," said Richard Simmons, the CABE chief executive.