Judicial review threatens Arla development
Sainsbury’s wins latest battle over plan
THE £100million leisure and shopping development in South Ruislip will be further delayed, or may be scrapped, after Sainsbury’s won the latest courtroom battle.
On Thursday, a judge granted the supermarket chain permission for a judicial review of the process through which the development of the derelict former Arla Foods dairy site, in Victoria Road, was given planning consent.
The two-day review is expected to take place by the end of July and could lead to the plans, which include a rival Asda supermarket, being thrown out.
Andrew Rennie, managing director of Citygrove Securities Ltd, the firm behind the plans, said: “It’s obviously disappointing because we were due to start on site in March and we were successful at the written stage. We have now had to delay the construction for a second time.
“However, we are very confident that ultimately Sainsbury’s will fail. Their grounds aren’t strong enough, in our opinion, for the permission to be quashed. It’s a delaying tactic.
“If, in a nightmare scenario, they are ultimately successful, then South Ruislip loses out on jobs and amenities.”
The plans, which could create up to 530 jobs, involve building a 40,000 sqft Asda supermarket, a cinema complex, five restaurants, 14 houses and 118 flats.
Sainsbury’s owns a rival supermarket in nearby Long Drive, which it has had planning permission to double the size of since 2006. The company has said it will not act on this if the Arla development goes ahead.
The supermarket giant’s initial request for a judicial review – submitted in February – was rejected by the courts.
But Sainsbury’s refused to give up, requesting a verbal hearing with a judge, who has now agreed there is an ‘arguable’ case for the planning decision to be retaken.
At the next hearing, the courts could either decide that the existing planning decision – allowing for the development to go ahead – should stand, or a judge could rule that the council must reconsider the application.
Sid Jackson, vice chair of the South Ruislip Residents’ Association, said: “It’s disappointing but I don’t think it will change the outcome. I’m quite confident of that, because I think the plan is good for the area.
“I think anything that delays producing 130 homes and more than 500 jobs in an area where they are needed is bad news and it’s the local community that are going to lose out.”
The council initially rejected the Arla plans early last year, before reversing its decision in October.
Sainsbury’s argues that the council did not adequately justify its u-turn, given that only ‘minimal’ changes were made to the plans in the interim.
Sainsbury’s also claims the council failed to follow the government’s national planning policy framework, which states that town centre developments, such as the store expansion it has permission for, should take priority over ‘edge-oftown’ projects, such as the planned Arla development.
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We note the judge’s decision and look forward to a full hearing later in the year.”