Supermarket fight could cost you £200k
Tax payers face footing bill as Sainsbury’s pushes for Arla judicial review
HILLINGDON tax payers could foot a £200,000 legal bill because of attempts by Sainsbury’s to stop a £100million development containing a rival Asda store from going ahead in South Ruislip.
The supermarket giant has applied for a judicial review of the process through which the proposed development of the derelict Arla site was given planning permission by Hillingdon Council.
Now Citygrove Securities Ltd, the company behind the plans, and the borough council have lodged their defences of the planning process with the High Court and it will be up to a judge to decide whether or not to grant the judicial review.
Citygrove chairman Andrew Rennie said that, based on previous experience with similar cases, his firm believed this could cost the council upwards of £200,000, as Sainsbury’s has requested the defendant pays the claimant’s costs.
Mr Rennie said: “The fee to lodge the application with the High Court was a mere £140, which has already caused a three-month delay. Even if a judge refuses to hold a hearing Sainsbury’s can potentially appeal that decision, for a further court fee of £350, delaying the scheme further.
“But when you consider Sainsbury’s could save £1m for every month of delays, it’s no wonder the company is doing everything to try and slow down the inevitable. It is immoral that Sainsbury’s should use both the planning system and the judiciary for the sole purpose of preserving their monopoly in South Ruislip, to deny residents further choice and competition.
“It has not been easy telling unemployed youngsters that their employment training has been put on hold, but Sainsbury’s lose sight of these implications in their pursuit of profits.”
This week it emerged that double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes had written to Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe criticising the supermarket’s resistance.
The Arla site re-development is expected to create more than 530 jobs and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust has been working to create youth employment opportunities.
The plans involve building a 40,000sq ft Asda supermarket, a cinema complex, five restaurants, 14 houses and 118 flats at the derelict former dairy site in Victoria Road. Work had been scheduled to begin this month. Sainsbury’s has had permission to double the size of its existing supermarket in nearby Long Lane since 2006.
Part of the supermarket company’s objection is that it believes planning guidelines state that town centre developments, should take precedence over “edge-of-town” projects. A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We believe there are a number of unanswered questions in the way Hillingdon Council approved the Arla foods scheme. We have asked an independent judge to review the case and look forward to their response.”