Anger at ‘bully-boy’ tactic
Sainsbury's accused of ‘cynical' ploy to delay Arla project
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