Shops should be allowed to shut and town centres should be turned into residential hubs, according to a new report.

The Social Market Foundation said that attempts to “turn the clock back” and revitalise high street retail were misguided. Instead empty shops should be converted into homes or torn down in favour of modern apartments.

The report, A New Life for the High Street, says that under a “conservative assumption” 5% of commercial land could be released for development, allowing at least 800,000 homes to be built.