Gordons prevails in ‘Store Wars’ planning case

Friday 29th March 2019

Gordons has successfully resisted an application to judicially review a planning decision that had granted permission for a new B&M store in Bideford.

The firm acted for the developer in relation to the site in opposing the application.

The claim was pursued by a local retailer, Solo Retail Limited. It argued that Torridge District Council had misinterpreted planning policies and guidelines and Solo Retail also claimed that the local authority had acted unreasonably in determining the impact the store might have on neighbouring retailers.

Mrs Justice Lieven stated: “In my view this is a classic case which is really challenging a planning judgment about how a policy should be applied to the facts of the case, rather than about the true interpretation of the policy… A matter of planning judgment is one for the decision maker.”

Richard Jobes of Gordons’ property litigation team acted for the developer, working alongside seasoned planning solicitor Mark Blackburn.

Commenting on the case, Richard Jobes said: “It is becoming an increasing feature of the retail landscape for operators to try to frustrate – or at least delay – the opening of competing stores by running highly technical arguments to undermine planning decisions. This case maintains the inherent flexibility in applying planning guidelines and the scope for planning officers to reach their own reasoned conclusions.”

R (Solo Retail Limited) v Torridge District Council [2019] 489 (Admin)