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Blackburn retail park fails in latest legal appeal
PROPERTY developers Peel Holding have lost the latest round of their legal battle to expand its Whitebirk Retail Park on the Blackburn-Rishton border.
Three Court of Appeal judges dismissed its appeal against Hyndburn council’s refusal to allow it to include food and fashion stores.
Blackburn MP Jack Straw described the decision as a ‘humiliation’ for Peel and urged it to drop a bid to take the case to the UK’s Supreme Court.
The company wanted to overturn the original planning restriction permitting the sale of only bulky and electrical goods .
The senior judges found against Peel saying: “This court does not usually hear the whole case all over again. This appeal seemed more like a re-hearing of the entire case than a review of the High Court judgment.”
Mr Straw said: “This is an overwhelming victory for Hyndburn, Blackburn, Burnley and The Mall and a humiliation for Peel. A High Court judge and three appeal judges have now found against one of the most single-minded developers in the country.
“I would urge Peel to end this expensive legal saga and drop its plans to take the case to the Supreme Court.”
A spokesman for the company said: “Peel are naturally very disappointed with the outcome of the Court of Appeal.
“Peel will be seeking leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court at the earliest opportunity.”
A Hyndburn council spokesman said: “We welcome the decision of the Court of Appeal.
“The council is willing to work with Peel Investments to ensure the centre is developed in a manner consistent with national and local planning policies but also in and open and transparent manner.”
Mark Bourgeois, of Mall owners Capital & Regional, said: “This is a good decision for town centres throughout the UK. This ruling marks an important precedent and closes a loophole designed to circumvent town centre first policies.”
Blackburn with Darwen councillor deputy leader Andy Kay said: “We are very pleased with the decision. This is an extremely important victory for both our town centres.
“The court has been clear that we have a justified case and we hope Peel finally accepts that their application is legally flawed.
“We are committed to the regeneration of both centres, so clearly we had to fight Peel.”
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