Court of Appeal judgment, upholding a decision from 2019 against Asda trying to overturn a Lidl permission

Essentially, a proposal having a significant adverse impact does not create a special requirement to refuse an application, and can be overcome by material considerations.

Whilst the decision is very logical it includes an interesting summary paragraph that may be useful when promoting out of centre schemes which give rise to retail impacts:

“42. The crucial point, therefore, is this. Even if the policy in paragraph 90 is rightly regarded as containing a "presumption", the "presumption" is one that can be overcome by countervailing factors, which are not specified or limited by the policy itself – but might include, for example, planning benefits such as the creation of jobs in an area where unemployment is high and an uplift to the local economy by the development proposed. Inevitably, this will be more difficult or less according to the nature and degree of the "significant adverse impact" the development is likely to have. The potential harm will vary from one proposal to another. Giving appropriate weight to it is a matter of planning judgment for the decision-maker. In some cases, the development may be judged likely to cause numerous shop closures and vacancies in the town centre, serious and lasting effects on trade to the detriment of the centre as a whole, and a long-term lack of investment. In others, the effects may still be "significant" but much less damaging, and the town centre may be expected to recover in a relatively short time. A "significant adverse impact" is not a uniform concept.”

It is evident that greater weight can be given to the benefits, so highlighting the benefits and their significance as part of an application submission.  This is even more important given the economic impact of Covid-19.