Yesterdays planning white paper appeared to give big supermarket chains the opportunity to build out-of-town developments. The Times

The white paper suggests replacing the assessment regime with a ‘needs’ test that will be merged with the existing ‘impact test, which assesses whether a new store would affect trade in the Town Centre.

The white paper insists that the government is ‘fully committed to promoting the vitality and viability of town centres’, and that a replacement test would be established to protect high streets.

Consultation on the new planning test will begin this summer and changes finalised by next spring.

The new regime will take into account the finding of the Competition Commission inquiry into the grocery market, which is expected to report in November.