A high court date has been set to hear a legal challenge against Hyndburn council’s decision to block expansion plans of a retail park.
Operator Peel Holdings is taking the council to court after planning officials blocked a £16m revamp of Whitebirk Retail Park.
The committee refused to allow Peel to override a policy restricting the site’s retail use to bulky goods such as electrical and home improvement items by granting ‘certificates of lawful development’ for several of its units.
The council’s legal representatives will appear at the court in London between October 3 and October 5 to put forward its case.
Council leader Miles Parkinson said: "The planning committee made a decision and the council will defend that decision within the due process whether that’s through appeal or through judicial review.
"I suspect, like any person who wishes to appeal a decision, they may choose to continue to appeal but that’s their decision.
"All we will do is defend the council’s position."
Earlier this month Blackburn MP Jack Straw said the legal challenge followed several successful planning applications by Peel for ‘minor’ changes to buildings. Hyndburn MP Graham Jones told the Observer the council needed to fight the application ‘all the way’ because of a 22 per cent vacancy rate in Accrington town centre.
Peel Holdings say the refurbishment would create 250 jobs and that surveys indicate 95 per cent support.
A spokesperson said: "Peel Holdings has initiated legal proceedings in respect of Hyndburn Borough Council’s refusal to confirm its position in respect of whether restrictions over the types of retailers which can occupy Whitebirk Retail Park will continue to apply when various planning permissions are implemented.
"The High Court has now granted permission for Peel to proceed with a Judicial Review and the legality of the Council’s position will now be decided by the Court."