The National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) has welcomed moves to reduce parking restrictions in town centres.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is consulting on the measures as part of a new national planning policy framework unveiled last week.

This said that town centres should be recognised as the heart of their communities and policies should be pursued to support their viability and vitality.

Eric Pickles, communities secretary, said on Monday that centrally imposed limits on town-centre parking spaces would be scrapped, helping to provide a boost to struggling high streets.

Pickles said: “Families and local firms face a parking nightmare under existing rules. Stressed-out drivers have to run the gauntlet of parking fines, soaring parking charges and a lack of parking spaces. These parking restrictions have hit small shops the hardest, creating ‘ghost-town’ high streets, which cannot compete with out-of-town supermarkets.”

Mike Holling, retail operations director of Derby-based Birds the Confectioners, and chairman of NAMB, said he welcomed this.

“I would think this is a great way of getting people back into high streets and into town centres. Supermarkets have nearly 800 parking spaces and charge nothing so it’s an unlevel playing field.”

He said he also expected parking to be one of the major issues the Mary Portas review into town centres identified.

Anthony Kindred, of Kindred Bakery in Caterham Hill, Surrey, and a member of the London and South East Region of the NAMB, said at least half the problems high streets experienced were down to the parking restrictions, including high charges and controlled parking zones.