Threat to dairy de­vel­op­ment

Le­gal ac­tion from Sains­bury's could scup­per £100 mil­lion Arla project

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­man will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A £100mil­lion leisure de­vel­op­ment planned for South Ruis­lip could be de­layed by up to a year or even scrapped al­to­gether, after Sains­bury’s an­nounced plans to take le­gal ac­tion.

The su­per­mar­ket gi­ant, which wants to en­large its ex­ist­ing store nearby, plans to call for a ju­di­cial re­view of the process through which plan­ning per­mis­sion was granted for the de­vel­op­ment of the derelict for­mer dairy site in Vic­to­ria Road.

An­drew Ren­nie, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ci­ty­grove Se­cu­ri­ties plc, the firm be­hind the plans, said he was ‘bit­terly dis­ap­pointed’ by the decision and that ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ de­lays were now ‘in­evitable’.

He added: “The ul­ti­mate night­mare is the judge agrees with them, which I’m sure they won’t, and quashes con­sent and you are left with a derelict site.”

The plans in­volve build­ing a 40,000sq ft Asda su­per­mar­ket, an 11-screen Cineworld com­plex – also hous­ing a Star­bucks cof­fee shop – five fam­ily restau­rants – in­clud­ing a Frankie & Benny’s, a Chiq­uito, a Bella Italia and a Nan­dos – 14 houses and 118 flats.

J Sains­bury plc had pre­vi­ously ob­tained con­sent for plans to de­mol­ish and re-build its nearby su­per­mar­ket, in Long Drive. It hopes to re­ceive fur­ther per­mis­sion to build a new store on the same site for while work is be­ing car­ried out.

A Sains­bury’s spokesman said: “Our decision to pro­ceed with the new store de­vel­op­ment is pred­i­cated on the out­come of the Arla Food site, which was ap­proved last year. We con­sider that the coun­cil did not prop­erly ad­dress the is­sues re­lat­ing to this ap­pli­ca­tion and we will there­fore be chal­leng­ing the decision through le­gal ac­tion. A decision on the new Sains­bury’s store de­vel­op­ment will be made once this mat­ter has been re­solved.

“This decision will not af­fect our ex­ist­ing South Ruis­lip op­er­a­tion. All jobs will be se­cure and we will con­tinue to serve our loyal cus­tomer base from our ex­ist­ing store.”

Mr Ren­nie said: “Sains­bury’s’ con­cerns have been fully con­sid­ered by Hilling­don’s plan­ning com­mit­tee. Sains­bury’s have also ex­pressed those con­cerns to both the Mayor of London and the Sec­re­tary of State, both of whom up­held Hilling­don’s decision to ap­prove the ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Sains­bury’s have had per­mis­sion to ex­tend their store in South Ruis­lip since 2006, but have cho­sen not to do so ... The le­gal chal­lenge has no merit, but its sole pur­pose is to sti­fle and re­strict com­pe­ti­tion.”

He added: “We are ready to com­mence works on site in March to en­sure the scheme could be com­pleted and open by Easter 2016. There will in­evitably be a sig­nif­i­cant de­lay now whilst we over­turn th­ese un­nec­es­sary le­gal pro­ceed­ings.”

Plan­ning of­fi­cials pre­vi­ously de­cided that the ben­e­fits of de­vel­op­ing the Arla site, which has been va­cant since the for­mer Ex­press Dairy closed in 2005, would out­weigh the neg­a­tive im­pact of Sains­bury’s not go­ing ahead with its en­larged store.

The Arla de­vel­op­ment is ex­pected to cre­ate 536 jobs and comes with the con­di­tion that Ci­ty­grove must give £2.7m to the coun­cil for in­fra­struc­ture projects. The firm would also pay for Long Drive and Vic­to­ria Road to be widened and for new traf­fic lights to be in­stalled to cope with in­creased traf­fic, as well as for pedes­trian walk­ways link­ing the site to both South Ruis­lip sta­tion and the pa­rade shops in Long Drive.

n UN­DER THREAT: An artist's im­pres­sion of the re­de­vel­op­ment at the Arla site at the for­mer Ex­press Dairy

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