The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced that, from 1 July 2012, it will be possible to apply for the removal of certain land use restrictions.

This procedure has come about under the Groceries Market Investigation (Controlled Land) Order 2010 (the Order).

The Order allows a process for applicants to seek the removal of certain restrictive covenants and exclusivity agreements affecting land. Such restrictions must benefit a Large Grocery Retailer (as defined) and fail the test set out in the Order.

The test examines grocery competition in a local area which is the subject of the relevant restriction.

Although the Order was adopted in 2010, implementation of the test had been delayed due to the OFT needing to put the necessary software and procedures in place under the Order.

The OFT has also published a document explaining the procedure for carrying out the test. This accompanies the PowerPoint presentation explaining the operation of the test which it published in April of last year.

It will be interesting to see how frequently the OFT is called upon to use the test - and, in view of the time it has taken the OFT to adopt the necessary procedures, the level of "pent up demand" for the removal of such land use restrictions. Watch this space.