Retail park revamp blocked

Posted: 1st November 2012

The owner of a retail park has suffered a blow to its plans to carry out a multi-million-pound revamp of the property. The High Court rejected Peel Land and Property Investments' challenge to Hyndburn Borough Council's refusal to grant lawful development certificates (LDCs) which would have opened the way for it to re-develop Whitebirk Retail Park with new clothing and food retail outlets.

WarehouseJudge Waksman QC rejected the firm’s arguments that, following the grant of various planning permissions in respect of six units at the retail park, it was no longer bound by restrictions limiting them to the sale of bulky goods. However, recognising that the case raised important issues of principle, he granted Peel permission to challenge his decision in the Court of Appeal.

Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council and the owners of Blackburn's Mall shopping centre had joined forces with Hyndburn to defend the decision, arguing that Peel's plans could have a serious impact on the viability and vitality of Blackburn town centre if allowed to proceed.

The judge ruled that the planning permissions granted to Peel did not involve the creation of new retail units, as claimed by Peel, or material change of use. Ruling that the permissions had not created a ‘new chapter in the planning history’, he said that the units remained bound by the restrictions on use.