Retail giant Tesco has lost its High Court challenge to planning permission being granted for a rival foodstore in Co Armagh.
The company was seeking a judicial review of the Department of the Environment’s decision on land redevelopment at Edenderry, Portadown.
Lawyers for Tesco claimed that the decision to grant outline permission to Vico Kent Ltd did not consider or understand a Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) report recommending the site be excluded from Portadown's designated town centre.
The company also claimed that the decision in December 2008 failed to take into account planning approval given to Tesco a month earlier for a proposed superstore at Marlborough Retail Park, Craigavon.
Delivering judgment in the case, Mr Justice Weatherup said a distinction should be recognised between whether Edenderry was to be included in the Portadown town centre boundary and considerations whether or not there should be retail development on the site.
Mr Justice Weatherup pointed to the department believing the proposed development could potentially aid town centre regeneration, and to a PAC comment that some retailing was acceptable there within the context of the relevant legislation, Planning Policy Statement 5.
Mr Justice Weatherup held the exclusion of Edenderry from the town centre was taken into account.
“I do not accept that in doing so the Planning Service failed to understand correctly the 2007 PAC Report,” he said.
“Nor do I accept that there was inconsistency of reasoning in the process of approving the application for the Edenderry site and also adopting the 2007 PAC recommendation on the town boundary.”
Dealing with the granting of planning permission to Tesco for Craigavon a month in advance of Vico Kent Ltd, the judge rejected the submission that this was not considered.
He ruled: “Accordingly I have not been satisfied on any of the applicant's grounds for judicial review and the application will be dismissed.”