Initial shots fired in competition battle

Tesco began its legal challenge against the proposed competition test this week by arguing that it would hamper competition and prevent key regeneration schemes.

The test, which prevents supermarkets opening new stores where they already have a 60 per cent market share, was a key recommendation from the Competition Commission in April after its two-year investigation into the grocery sector.

Tesco lawyers told the Competition Appeal Tribunal that the remedy is disproportionate and that the commission failed to consider whether its negative impact would outweigh the perceived benefit.

Retail planners were left frustrated by the government's decision not to outline its position on the test when it published its revised PPS6 earlier in the year. This was a result of Tesco's appeal (Planning, 11 July, p1).

A DCLG spokesman insisted that a decision on the test will not be made until the outcome of the challenge is known next year. The final PPS6 is expected in spring.

Meanwhile, the National Retail Planning Forum has launched consultation on definitions used in forecasts on the need for and impact of retail floor space.

Secretary George Nicholson said: "A basic need of any coherent decision-making process is an agreed set of definitions." The success of the new PPS6 is dependent on such a common base-line, he added.

The draft definitions can be viewed at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc.


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