Retailers who want to open and develop sites could be faced with a barrage of ­delays as local authorities face a possible planning meltdown.

Leading property organisations have warned that the combination of a government review of the planning system, the scrapping of regional development strategies and spending cuts could create confusion and a lack of resources in local authority planning departments.

British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace warned that many in the grocery sector would face delays over the granting of planning permissions and developments in areas needing regeneration.

"These issues are likely to stall development," she said. "Planning is going to be a massive issue in the future and we are struggling to get to grips with the new government's plans on this."

British Council of Shopping Centres executive director Edward Cooke said spending cuts could have a major knock-on impact, especially in developing deprived areas. "If you are a council and have to cut 25% of your budget you are not going to cut it from social services but you are going to cut from planning and development," he said.