Judge to decide on Arla
Action by Sainsbury’s could block £100m development
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.”