The owner of Eastbourne’s Arndale Shopping Centre has failed in a High Court challenge to a decision that it says poses the risk of major retailers leaving the town centre for a retail park on the edge of Eastbourne.
Performance Retail, which owns the Arndale Shopping Centre that is anchored by major retailers including Marks and Spencer, BHS and Primark, had asked Deputy Judge Ockelton to quash part of Eastbourne Borough Council’s Core Strategy Local Plan that designates the Sovereign Harbour Retail Park as a “district centre”, and gives it stronger status in planning terms.
The company claimed at a hearing last November that the decision was in breach of national planning policy aimed at protecting town centres, and poses a risk to the “retail hierarchy” of the town.
However, in his written judgment today the judge ruled that the claim should be dismissed. He ordered Performance Retail to pay the council’s legal costs, to be assessed later if not agreed, and refused it permission to appeal his decision. It remains open to Performance Retail to ask the Court of Appeal directly to allow it to take the case further.
Christopher Boyle QC had argued on Performance Retail’s behalf that it was “critical” for the retail hierarchy of a town to be established properly, because a sequential test does not distinguish between different categories of centre within the town centre category.