Sains­bury’s de­feated in bat­tle for Arla site

Cin­ema and homes com­plex gets green light

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cleme­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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