There are statutory periods for public participation in the decision making process for planning applications. All applications must be publicised and there is a 21 day statutory period for comments. Local planning authorities are required to take into account timely relevant representations on applications and make public the reasons for decisions.
Requirements for public participation in decision making on planning applications are the same for all types of applications. It would be inappropriate for planning applications from supermarkets to be dealt with differently.
Existing national planning policy, as set out in Planning Policy Statement 6, also encourages developers, local authorities and local communities to work together to identify appropriate sites for retail development to ensure the viability and vitality of their town centres. This approach will be maintained in our forthcoming new policy statement on planning for economic prosperity, which will be published for consultation shortly.