Judge to de­cide on Arla

Ac­tion by Sains­bury’s could block £100m devel­op­ment

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

SU­PER­MAR­KET gi­ant Sains­bury’s has started legal pro­ceed­ings that could po­ten­tially stop a £100mil­lion devel­op­ment from be­ing built in South Ruis­lip.

The re­tailer has writ­ten to a High Court judge, who will now de­cide whether there are grounds for a ju­di­cial re­view of the process through which the devel­op­ment re­ceived plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to Sains­bury’s, this process should take be­tween six and eight weeks.

A spokesman said: “We un­der­stand peo­ple’s con­cerns about the Arla scheme and, like them, have been dis­cussing our views with Hilling­don Coun­cil.

“We have writ­ten to the coun­cil ask­ing them to clar­ify their po­si­tion about the way they ap­proved the ap­pli­ca­tion, af­ter orig­i­nally re­fus­ing it in 2014.

“Un­for­tu­nately we have been left with no other op­tion but to re­fer the is­sue to an in­de­pen­dent judge.”

The plans in­volve build­ing a 40,000sq ft Asda su­per­mar­ket, a cinema com­plex, five restau­rants, 14 houses and 118 flats at the derelict Arla Foods site in Vic­to­ria Road. Work had been sched­uled to begin next month.

If a ju­di­cial re­view is launched, how­ever, it could de­lay the project by up to a year, or, depend­ing on the court’s de­ci­sion, even block it al­to­gether.

An­drew Ren­nie, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Ci­ty­grove Se­cu­ri­ties Ltd, the firm be­hind the plans, said he was ‘100 per cent con­fi­dent’ that would not hap­pen as the case had ‘no merit’.

He said: “We are con­fi­dent it will be thrown out straight away, but if a judge does de­cide it will go to the next stage, we are con­fi­dent that at that stage it will fail. But it’s the de­lay that’s go­ing to cost.”

Last week, pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the Sains­bury’s su­per­mar­ket in nearby Long Lane, which the re­tailer has had plan­ning per­mis­sion to dou­ble the size of since 2006. The com­pany hopes to win fur­ther per­mis­sion to build a new store for while work is be­ing car­ried out.

Part of the store’s ob­jec­tion is that it be­lieves plan­ning guide­lines state that town cen­tre de­vel­op­ments, such as the one it has per­mis­sion for, should take prece­dence over ‘edge-of-town’ projects, such as the planned Arla devel­op­ment.

Sid Jack­son, vice chair of South Ruis­lip Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “I don’t think there’s any­thing hon­ourable in what they are do­ing.”

He added: “They are not in­ter­ested in the com­mu­nity. They are in­ter­ested in the bot­tom line.”

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