What kind of a planet is he on? Wont last long
A minister today said much of a report on rejuvenating high streets by former Iceland boss Bill Grimsey was “a load of crap”.
High Street Minister Brandon Lewis brushed aside the businessman’s review as “unrealistic” even though the pair were due to meet today.
Instead he threw his weight behind a report written by celebrity retail guru Mary Portas, previously criticised by Mr Grimsey.
The former Iceland and Wickes chief executive said the minister’s comments were “ignorant” and promised a “frank exchange” at their meeting today.
It is the latest incident in a growing war of words over how to breathe life back into the country’s high streets.
Only last week Mr Lewis was grilled by a Commons committee after Mr Grimsey chided the government for delaying a revaluation of business rates.
Mr Lewis told the Standard there were some interesting points in Mr Grimsey’s independent report, published in September, but went on to
say: “Otherwise a lot of it was a load of crap.
“He made a point about having a 20-year strategy, which is somewhat ironic bearing in mind he talks about how fast-moving the high-street is.”
Ms Portas’s report, published almost two years ago, led to the naming of 27 “Portas Pilots” to test ways to increase footfall, including those in Croydon, Waterloo, Sydenham and Tower Hamlets.
Mr Lewis said Ms Portas had done a “phenomenal job” and said he was encouraging councils to take action — using planning powers or parking rules for example — shown to be successful in the pilots.
But Mr Grimsey hit back, claiming: “The evidence is totally against him.”