Efforts to curb the dominance of any one supermarket in local towns were dealt a blow yesterday after Tesco won a battle to prevent the regulator introducing a 'competition test' into planning applications.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal upheld an appeal by Tesco against the Competition Commission’s proposals to force local authorities to consider which retailers were already operating in their areas when they consider planning applications.

The commission had proposed the rule after a two-year inquiry into the grocery sector.The proposal – one of the key recommendations of a two-year probe by the commission into the supermarket sector – aimed to improve choice for shoppers. Overturning the decision, the CAT said that the Competition Commission had not fully assessed and taken into account the risk that the new test might harm consumers.

Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent