Consultancy CB Richard Ellis was commissioned by the National Retail Planning Forum (NRPF) to carry out a national survey, sponsored by the ODPM, Marks & Spencer and the BCSC Educational Trust, on the role of secondary shopping locations.
The report found that by providing specialist retailers and services not found in prime shopping areas, secondary centres can contribute to the prosperity and quality of town centres.
CB Richard Ellis associate director Jonathan Baldock said: "Planning policies for secondary shopping areas generally lack sophistication and have had some unfortunate effects, such as creating binge-drinking areas."
RTPI president Mike Hayes added: "It is time that we tackled the suburbs and looked to provide well-designed high-density mixed-use developments with real public realm investment."
The Role and Vitality of Secondary Shopping: A New Direction is available, priced £25, from the NRPF (tel) 020 7633 0903.