A familiar situation: a supermarket secures a number of sites in a town not with the intention of developing them all, but with a view to excluding a rival. The impact on planning policy is obvious: applying the sequential test, the most suitable sites for a rival development may be excluded, and stores will develop further out of centre, where there are town centre sites available.
A change in competition law to be introduced on 6 April 2011 means such agreements to exclude certain uses of land may be be illegal and therefore unenforceable. And that includes existing agreements.
Our property and public law teams have issued two updates on this topic here and here (and they’ve blogged too, if you’d like to comment). The Office of Fair Trading is presently consulting on guidance on the application of competition to land agreements.
Competition law applying to land use is an interesting concept. Me, I thought land was a natural monopoly. That’s what Winston Churchill said, and who am I to disagree?
On October 21, 2010