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‘Curate’s Egg’ Superstore Plans Receive Judicial Blessing

Large developments often have a mixture of advantageous and malign impacts and that was certainly so in one case where permission was granted for an out-of-town superstore which would have a serious impact on the central shopping area but would provide much needed employment opportunities to the local population.

The superstore was one part of a mixed regeneration project which would provide new premises to a major local employer. Permission was granted after the developer agreed to cover the cost of shuttle bus services and to pay £380,000 towards improving the facilities and appearance of the town centre.

The local authority had resolved to grant consent contrary to the advice of its own planning officers and a rival supermarket chain mounted a judicial review challenge to the decision which was rejected by the High Court.

In upholding that decision, the Court of Appeal noted that the mix of uses involved in the scheme was ‘like the proverbial curate’s egg’. However, it was for the council to balance the advantages and disadvantages of the proposals. It was not a case of a local authority seeking funding through the exercise of its planning powers and the mitigation measures which the developer had agreed to pay for were fairly and properly related in kind to the development itself.