There is considerable case study based evidence that changes in the public policy environment have profoundly altered the structure and operation of retail property markets in England. Despite this, however, few studies of property market performance consider the influence of retail planning policies. This paper seeks to fill the gap. The empirical part of the paper uses data derived from a survey of local planning authorities to construct a range of measures of planning policy stance. The indicators demonstrate that the role of policy is complex and multi-dimensional. The paper then explores the relationship between planning policies and measures of property market performance. The results show that, while pro-active policies do not guarantee a vibrant market, they can play an important part in stimulating occupier and investor demand, even where there are poor economic fundamentals.