SAINSBURY’S will find out today whether a High Court bid to extend its Northwich store has been successful.
The supermarket giant claims it was wrongly refused planning permission when the former Vale Royal Borough Council decided it wanted the prime site to form part of the Barons Quay redevelopment, which is expected to attract £300m worth of investment.
It is asking High Court deputy judge David Holgate QC to quash a government planning inspector’s decision backing the refusal of planning permission.
The company hopes the judge will order Secretary of State Hazel Blears to have its application reconsidered.
Vale Royal refused planning permission on the basis that the Sainsbury’s site occupies a key position within the redevelopment area.
The Local Plan policy states that proposals that prejudice the Barons Quay plans will not be permitted, and the council decided an extension of the supermarket would conflict with the aims of the redevelopment.
Developers want the supermarket to move to the current Matalan site to make room for an 80,000sq ft department store – expected to be Debenhams – as part of the multi-million-pound scheme.
A spokesperson for the old authority said last year Sainsbury’s had agreed “in principle” to moving, but the chain lodged an appeal nonetheless.
It claims the extension would not prejudice the project, and that it would help develop the site ‘in a way consistent with the objectives of the scheme’.
Former councillor Tony Lawrenson said: “The regeneration will go ahead with or without Sainsbury’s.”