When rival developers target the same geographical area, local planners can often find themselves the focus of legal fireworks. That came to pass when competing plans were put forward to build large retail food outlets in the same small town.
Following an appeal to a government inspector, developer A was granted consent to build a food store with a floor space of 2,360 square metres, as well as three smaller retail units and a multi-storey car park. However, trouble brewed when the local council later granted permission to developer B for a 5,205 square metre food store, offices, a petrol filling station and a car park on another site in the town.
Developer A mounted a judicial review challenge and, in overturning developer B’s permission, the High Court found that councillors had been misled by the contents of a planning officer’s report. They had also given inadequate reasons for their decision and failed to consider whether fresh consideration of the potential environmental impact of developer B’s proposals was required.