A PROPOSED initiative civic leaders hope will attract new businesses to Poole High Street has moved a step closer to reality.

The Borough of Poole’s economy, overview and scrutiny committee has endorsed plans to consult on a Draft Local Development Order (LDO) for a section of the High Street.

This means the recommendations can now move to the council’s full cabinet meeting next month, where members will decide whether to back the scheme or not.

Borough of Poole wants to introduce the LDO in a bid to cut planning red tape and ensure the town is “open for business.”

If passed, the order will spell the end of lengthy planning applications associated with High Street outlets changing use.

However, central government will have to rubber-stamp any new regulations before they are rolled out.

The LDO, which will go out for public consultation if cabinet agrees on February 12, will enable units between North Street and New Orchard to change between retail, finance, restaurant, cafe and professional services without waiting eight weeks.

Poole deputy leader Cllr Mike White believes the scheme represents “an exciting opportunity that allows us to free up bureaucracy, and support new businesses.”

He added: “The consultation is important to getting the order right and I am looking forward to the comments that will help us achieve a speedy decision from the minister who has to approve the initiative.”