Sainsbury’s defeated in battle for Arla site
Cinema and homes complex gets green light
A NEW cinema, retail and homes complex in South Ruislip is to go ahead after Sainsbury’s lost a legal bid to thwart the project – which includes a rival Asda store.
The supermarket giant took Hillingdon Council to a judicial review, arguing that the local authority had been inconsistent with its decision-making process and had misapplied planning policy.
But the High Court found in favour of the council on Wednesday, July 22, meaning the way is now clear for the former Arla Foods site to be redeveloped.
Toby Baines, chairman of Citygrove – the developer behind the new complex – said he ‘can’t wait’ to get started.
He added: “Let’s hope this is the end of a long and expensive road. It’s ridiculous this site is in a prime London borough and has been sitting derelict and vacant for more than 10 years.
“The only thing preventing this project from happening has been J Sainsbury’s using the legal system.”
He said the scheme, which will bring new homes, a Cineworld complex, an Asda supermarket and several restaurants to South Ruislip, will take about 56 weeks from start to finish before the operators then go in and fit it.
Sainsbury’s has a store near to the development, in Long Drive, which was granted planning permission to extend in 2006, but has yet to implement.
Hillingdon Council’s major applications planning committee approved proposals for a redevelopment of the Arla site in October 2014.
Council leader Ray Puddifoot said this week he is delighted by the High Court’s decision and branded Sainsbury’s actions ‘clumsy’ and ‘little more than a time-wasting exercise’,
He added: “The fact the judge made no criticism of the council’s handling of the application speaks highly of the skill and judgement of our planning department.
“At long last the way is now clear for work to begin.”
Citygrove and the council have shelled out large sums to battle against J Sainsbury’s in the courts over the development of a site which has been derelict since 2004.
A previous estimate of the cost to the taxpayer was put at £200,000 for Hillingdon Council’s legal costs.
South Ruislip Residents’ Association (SAA) announced the decision to its members at a meeting last Wednesday to ‘applause’.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We are clearly disappointed with the outcome, but respect the Judge’s decision. We have planning permission for a replacement store and are now considering our future options.”
‘WE’VE DONE IT’:
Protesters outside Sainsbury’s in South Ruislip have won their battle against the store giant