Anger at ‘bully-boy’ tac­tic

Sains­bury's ac­cused of ‘cyn­i­cal' ploy to de­lay Arla project

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

THE company be­hind plans for a £100mil­lion de­vel­op­ment in South Ruis­lip is wag­ing war on Sain­bury’s, to­gether with res­i­dents, for at­tempt­ing to block the project.

Ci­ty­grove Se­cu­ri­ties plc’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, An­drew Ren­nie, handed out win­dow posters and fly­ers read­ing ‘Stop Sains­bury’s bul­ly­ing!’ at a meet­ing of the South Ruis­lip Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion on Wed­nes­day, Jan­uary 21.

The firm’s chair­man, Toby Baines, has writ­ten to the su­per­mar­ket gi­ant’s CEO, Mike Coupe, call­ing the decision to launch a ju­di­cial re­view of the process through which the Arla Food site de­vel­op­ment was given plan­ning per­mis­sion ‘cyn­i­cal and un­demo­cratic’.

All but one of the 50odd res­i­dents who at­tended last week’s meet­ing voted in favour of send­ing a sim­i­lar let­ter, which the as­so­ci­a­tion has since done.

Sid Jack­son, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s vice chair, told the meet­ing: “What we have got is a ma­jor sup­plier within our midst us­ing bully-boy tac­tics to pre­vent com­pe­ti­tion. Who’s to say they won’t stop some­thing else in the fu­ture?

“I think we need to say to them, as res­i­dents of South Ruis­lip, ‘Look, you’re out of or­der here’.”

The plans in­volve build­ing a 40,000sq ft Asda su­per­mar­ket, a cin­ema com­plex, five restau­rants, 14 houses and 118 flats on the derelict for­mer dairy site in Vic­to­ria Road.

Ci­ty­grove won plan­ning per­mis­sion last year and had been sched­uled to start work in March.

How­ever, Sains­bury’s wants to dou­ble the size of its ex­ist­ing store in nearby Long Lane. The company was given plan­ning per­mis­sion to de­mol­ish and re­build the su­per­mar­ket in 2006. It hopes to re­ceive fur­ther per­mis­sion to erect a new store at the same site while work is be­ing car­ried out.

But Sains­bury’s has said it will not follow through on its plans if the Arla de­vel­op­ment goes ahead.

In a state­ment, Sains­bury’s said: “We con­sider that the coun­cil did not prop­erly ad­dress a num­ber of is­sues when ap­prov­ing the Arla plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion, and as a re­sult will be tak­ing le­gal ac­tion to chal­lenge the decision.”

In his let­ter to Sains­bury’s CEO Mr Coupe, Ci­ty­grove chair­man Mr Baines wrote: “We have a lo­cal com­mu­nity who want this scheme, we have ap­proval from all other rel­e­vant par­ties and we have support from the sur­round­ing 28 in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers.

“How­ever, Sains­bury’s’ de­ter­mi­na­tion to de­lay the start­ing date for this de­vel­op­ment, pre­sum­ably for one rea­son only, to main­tain their mo­nop­oly po­si­tion in South Ruis­lip, is both cyn­i­cal and un­demo­cratic. Even more so given Sains­bury’s have had per­mis­sion to ex­tend your own store since 2006 but have cho­sen not to act on it.”

Res­i­dents at last week’s meet­ing, held at St Mary’s Church hall, in The Fair­way, South Ruis­lip, spoke in favour of the de­vel­op­ment.

One sug­gested boy­cotting the ri­val Sains­bury’s store, which was met by ap­plause.

Mr Jack­son said: “I can’t tell you to do that. On a per­sonal ba­sis, I’ve al­ready done it … They have taken your money for 25 years and now you’ve got an al­ter­na­tive they are try­ing to stop it.” He added: “If Sains­bury’s come back [in re­sponse to our let­ter] and say, ‘We’ve heard you all but don’t care,’ then we should boy­cott them.”

Ci­ty­grove wants res­i­dents to write to Sains­bury’s bosses com­plain­ing and to sign an on­line pe­ti­tion.

For de­tails, visit www. c i t y g r o v e s o u t h r u i s l i p. com.

n DE­VEL­OP­MENT: An artist's im­pres­sion of how the £100mil­lion Arla de­vel­op­ment would look

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