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Store wars: Tesco set to make legal challenge over new Aldi store planned for March





A new budget supermarket for March could be delayed following news that a rival brand has launched a legal challenge against it.

Planning permission was granted to Aldi to build a new store on Hostmoor Avenue in July last year, despite objections from rival Tesco to the proposal.

At that time councillors decided “shoppers would decide with their feet” once the store was up and running to determine whether or not it was wanted.

Fenland's planning committee approved plans for an Aldi store in March at a meeting in July, now Tesco has launched a legal challenge against that decision.
Fenland's planning committee approved plans for an Aldi store in March at a meeting in July, now Tesco has launched a legal challenge against that decision.

In December Aldi announced it was hoping to have the store open in March this year and with it the creation of up to 50 jobs.

However, Aldi has now said Tesco has launched a “last-ditch” legal claim to try to overturn planning consent, but the budget favourite has reaffirmed its commitment to the March store.

A spokesperson for Fenland Council said: “There is no third party right of appeal so Tesco cannot appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. They have, however, indicated that they will be submitting a legal challenge to the decision to grant permission that will be a matter to be determined through the courts.”

Tesco has a store opposite the proposed site for Aldi's new supermarket and have now launched a legal challenge against planning permission.
Tesco has a store opposite the proposed site for Aldi's new supermarket and have now launched a legal challenge against planning permission.

When planning permission was granted the value-chain pledged to either provide its own traffic management scheme to improve safety at the junction of Hostmoor Avenue and the A141 or provide a cash contribution towards the March Area Transport Strategy to provide a scheme as part of its planning application commitment.

However, rival Tesco, located opposite the proposed store’s 0.9-hectare site, was among those to object.

A representative for the supermarket giants outlined Tesco’s objections to the July planning committee meeting when he told councillors it was not about stopping a rival from opening.

Aldi had hoped to have its store open this spring but a legal challenge means a likely delay.
Aldi had hoped to have its store open this spring but a legal challenge means a likely delay.

But was instead about concerns over road safety, traffic impact and the safety of pedestrians.

He feared drivers coming out of Aldi would be looking right to make the compulsory left turn and would potentially not see someone crossing the road between the stores.

He said Aldi’s own report stated they expected 35% of their shoppers to visit both stores and therefore there was potential for people to leave their cars and walk across the road between the two.

Fenland's planning committee granted permission for the Aldi store in July last year.
Fenland's planning committee granted permission for the Aldi store in July last year.

The legal challenge means the store could now be delayed while the courts decide whether or not to uphold Fenland’s planning decision.

Jonathan Neale, managing director of Aldi UK’s National Real Estate department, said: “We welcomed more new customers than ever before last year, showing the demand for Aldi across the country.

“Here in March, the vast majority of those who responded to our application for planning were in favour of our new store and Fenland District Council considered all issues in detail before granting consent.

Concerns were raised over pedestrian safety as they cross Hostmoor Avenue from the Aldi site (on left of this photo) and the Tesco store.
Concerns were raised over pedestrian safety as they cross Hostmoor Avenue from the Aldi site (on left of this photo) and the Tesco store.

“It’s no surprise that the full-price supermarkets don’t want us bringing our unbeatable value and award-winning quality to shoppers but our commitment to this store is unwavering.”

Tesco has been contacted for a comment.



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