Sainsbury’s ditch costly legal challenge over failed Marlborough store bid
Sainsbury’s has revealed the reasons why it has pulled out of its legal action against Wiltshire Council over the granting of planning permission for rivals Tesco to build its supermarket on Marlborough’s Business Park site.
The cost of pursuing a High Court judicial review which would not serve any practical purpose, whether they won it or not, prompted Sainsbury’s to ditch its legal challenge.
Tesco won the battle to give Marlborough an alternative supermarket to Waitrose almost two years ago, and is about to celebrate its first birthday next month after a difficult opening year.
But Sainsbury’s has yet to announce what is to happen to the old council depot site, off Salisbury Road, where it planned a 15,000 sq ft supermarket, and where an existing planning consent already exists for 32 new homes with workshops and offices. The original SOLD sign still remains in place next to the bus stop with November 25, 2009 as the closing date for offers.
Wiltshire approved Tesco’s planning application in April, 2010, on land designated for employment use, the decision being taken without proper comparison with the merits of Sainsbury’s scheme, which Sainsbury’s claim was better connected to the surrounding community and local bus routes.
“We have withdrawn the legal action against Wiltshire Council for what we believe could have been an unlawful decision to grant Tesco planning permission for a store at Marlborough business park,” a Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Marlborough News Online.
“A judicial review would be very costly yet in this instance it is becoming increasingly clear that the end result could simply confirm that it was a flawed decision.”
“While the council may have gone on to consider both planning applications side by side, with Tesco’s store built and open, it is highly unlikely that the decision to award Tesco planning permission will be reversed.”
And Sainsbury’s added: “Whilst we remain of the view that the legal action would successful, pursuing it would not serve any practical purpose.”
“Sainsbury’s interest in bringing a store to Marlborough remains and we would like to thank the many people who have written to us offering their support.”