Co-op fails in bid to stop Morrisons site

THE owners of a Co-op store in the town have failed in a bid to thwart a new Morrisons only 200 metres away, which is substantially built and set to open in February next year.

Though Morrisons have already spent £15m of a projected £21m building on the former Dorcan House office site, between Dorcan Way and Eldene Drive, Midcounties Co-operative Ltd, which owns the Co-op store at nearby Eldene, hoped to persuade a High Court judge to quash the grant of planning permission for the development.

They claimed that, in granting planning permission for the new superstore – intended to serve the main shopping needs of south-east Swindon – and three additional retail units, Swindon Council failed to apply national and local planning policies correctly.

But Mr Justice Hickinbottom, sitting in Bristol, ruled that the Co-op’s claims were not arguable, and refused them permission for a judicial review.

Rejecting multiple grounds of challenge, he said: “There is nothing arguably challengeable here. This is in reality a challenge to the merits of the conclusion of the officers, and thus the council, in the context of commercial competition between the claimant and Morrisons. But it is not arguable that the council’s approach to the Local Plan Policies, or the conclusion reached, was wrong or unlawful.”

The Co-op had actually attacked two separate grants of planning permission for the Morrisons store – one made last December, and a second one, largely identical, issued in July after it had first launched judicial review proceedings.

The judge said that the second planning application was made to address criticisms of the first raised by the Co-op, and so its challenge to the December permission was now “academic”.

The hearing was contested both by lawyers for the council and the supermarket’s development arm, and the judge said: “Morrisons have now bought the site, and have commenced construction, having spent over £15m of a total cost of £21m. The supermarket is due to open in February 2014. If and when it opens, it will provide 250 jobs in an area of higher than average unemployment.

“Given even those briefest of commercial and social facts, the resoluteness with which both the council and Morrisons oppose this claim to quash the two decisions to grant planning permission for the development is understandable.”

The judge said that the council’s planning officers’ report had properly dealt with the issues of need for the new supermarket, impact on the vitality and viability of other centres, including Swindon town centre and Eldene, and concluded that there were no “sequentially preferable” sites to house such a superstore.

He said: “These are matters of planning judgment; and the conclusions reached by the officers were, clearly, ones to which they were entitled to come.”

He also rejected a claim that the decision was based on a “fundamentally flawed” retail impact assessment.

Comments (14)

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8:42am Fri 6 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

I don't remember the Co-op giving a stuff what the impact of opening their big store in Old Town was on other local shops. Hypocrites.
I don't remember the Co-op giving a stuff what the impact of opening their big store in Old Town was on other local shops. Hypocrites. Wildwestener

10:20am Fri 6 Dec 13

Oik1 says...

Roll on the opening of the new Morrisons, as local to me as the nearest decent sized Co-op, without a doubt the products at the new store will be much cheaper than Co-op as well, the only thing the Co-op are concerned with is the competition that's arriving on their doorstep, they know it and anyone else in the retail trade knows it, Co-op cannot compete with Morrisons.
Roll on the opening of the new Morrisons, as local to me as the nearest decent sized Co-op, without a doubt the products at the new store will be much cheaper than Co-op as well, the only thing the Co-op are concerned with is the competition that's arriving on their doorstep, they know it and anyone else in the retail trade knows it, Co-op cannot compete with Morrisons. Oik1

10:36am Fri 6 Dec 13

Davey Gravey says...

The Co-op have had a booming few years. Unfortunate for them that Morrisons is creating a much needed store for east Swindon residents, but it is better for the public and Eldene shops need bulldozing.

I hope the Co-op staff have applied and got jobs in the new Morrisons as they won 't have one for long in their current shop. I personally know people with decent exam grades and others with plenty of experience who have not even got interviews. I'm assuming they have had a huge number of applications.
The Co-op have had a booming few years. Unfortunate for them that Morrisons is creating a much needed store for east Swindon residents, but it is better for the public and Eldene shops need bulldozing. I hope the Co-op staff have applied and got jobs in the new Morrisons as they won 't have one for long in their current shop. I personally know people with decent exam grades and others with plenty of experience who have not even got interviews. I'm assuming they have had a huge number of applications. Davey Gravey

10:43am Fri 6 Dec 13

Al Smith says...

Wildwestener wrote:
I don't remember the Co-op giving a stuff what the impact of opening their big store in Old Town was on other local shops. Hypocrites.
Probably because that store replaced the existing Old Town store they had on Wood Street.
[quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: I don't remember the Co-op giving a stuff what the impact of opening their big store in Old Town was on other local shops. Hypocrites.[/p][/quote]Probably because that store replaced the existing Old Town store they had on Wood Street. Al Smith

10:56am Fri 6 Dec 13

A.Baron-Cohen says...

More competition, more choice for customers what is there not to like:-)
More competition, more choice for customers what is there not to like:-) A.Baron-Cohen

1:03pm Fri 6 Dec 13

twasadawf says...

Co-op better get there act together or they will disappear with the likes of aldi/lidl opening stores everywhere,surely they could have built on this site if they had the foresight even Tesco sales are being effected by the upstarts
Co-op better get there act together or they will disappear with the likes of aldi/lidl opening stores everywhere,surely they could have built on this site if they had the foresight even Tesco sales are being effected by the upstarts twasadawf

1:24pm Fri 6 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

Wildwestener wrote:
I don't remember the Co-op giving a stuff what the impact of opening their big store in Old Town was on other local shops. Hypocrites.
What's hypocrisy got to do with running a business? If you had shares in the company wouldn't you expect them to try and stifle any competition?
[quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: I don't remember the Co-op giving a stuff what the impact of opening their big store in Old Town was on other local shops. Hypocrites.[/p][/quote]What's hypocrisy got to do with running a business? If you had shares in the company wouldn't you expect them to try and stifle any competition? Phantom Poster

4:14pm Fri 6 Dec 13

Oldtownmum says...

That grotty little coop in Eldene is horrible so no wonder they're worried about Morrisons. I used to work in the area and that whole precinct is a run down mess. I'm planning to use Morrisons when it opens and also the new m&s food. So glad that's finally coming. The mannington area is really good now. About time swindon went upmarket.
That grotty little coop in Eldene is horrible so no wonder they're worried about Morrisons. I used to work in the area and that whole precinct is a run down mess. I'm planning to use Morrisons when it opens and also the new m&s food. So glad that's finally coming. The mannington area is really good now. About time swindon went upmarket. Oldtownmum

5:01pm Fri 6 Dec 13

swinres says...

As I read in the past about this story it is not the fact that the Coop have competition but that the Morrissons deal was done in secret by this little group of councillors who act like third world dictators and do there deals behind closed doors with no public scrutiny. The shops in Eldene are being demolished for housing development and the occupants are being evicted thus the Coops question is why were they not allowed to tender for a shop in the new development and were not told their shop was going to be knocked down until after the deal had been done.
As I read in the past about this story it is not the fact that the Coop have competition but that the Morrissons deal was done in secret by this little group of councillors who act like third world dictators and do there deals behind closed doors with no public scrutiny. The shops in Eldene are being demolished for housing development and the occupants are being evicted thus the Coops question is why were they not allowed to tender for a shop in the new development and were not told their shop was going to be knocked down until after the deal had been done. swinres

9:05pm Fri 6 Dec 13

faatmaan says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
The Co-op have had a booming few years. Unfortunate for them that Morrisons is creating a much needed store for east Swindon residents, but it is better for the public and Eldene shops need bulldozing.

I hope the Co-op staff have applied and got jobs in the new Morrisons as they won 't have one for long in their current shop. I personally know people with decent exam grades and others with plenty of experience who have not even got interviews. I'm assuming they have had a huge number of applications.
shops don't want staff with brains..........they
'll leave....easier to bull staff who got little chance of work elsewhere.........al
so management don't like brighter employees.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: The Co-op have had a booming few years. Unfortunate for them that Morrisons is creating a much needed store for east Swindon residents, but it is better for the public and Eldene shops need bulldozing. I hope the Co-op staff have applied and got jobs in the new Morrisons as they won 't have one for long in their current shop. I personally know people with decent exam grades and others with plenty of experience who have not even got interviews. I'm assuming they have had a huge number of applications.[/p][/quote]shops don't want staff with brains..........they 'll leave....easier to bull staff who got little chance of work elsewhere.........al so management don't like brighter employees. faatmaan

9:08pm Fri 6 Dec 13

faatmaan says...

there is no large store on the east side of Swindon, all there is are the overpriced coop stores raking in of the less well off residents.
there is no large store on the east side of Swindon, all there is are the overpriced coop stores raking in of the less well off residents. faatmaan

9:51pm Fri 6 Dec 13

Ian13 says...

faatmaan wrote:
there is no large store on the east side of Swindon, all there is are the overpriced coop stores raking in of the less well off residents.
Sainsburys?
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: there is no large store on the east side of Swindon, all there is are the overpriced coop stores raking in of the less well off residents.[/p][/quote]Sainsburys? Ian13

10:05pm Fri 6 Dec 13

melnursesear. says...

The Co-op does not like competition anywhere ..due to prices..Fact..! Mind you Morrisons isnt much cheaper than Co-op usually..
The Co-op does not like competition anywhere ..due to prices..Fact..! Mind you Morrisons isnt much cheaper than Co-op usually.. melnursesear.

10:00am Sat 7 Dec 13

Davethered says...

I just hope that Morrisons recruit mainly british workers , as it seems that Lidl and Aldi mainly recruit foreign workers . how are they allowed to do this I don't know, the same applies to McDonalds , Kentucky, Thamesdown transport and Stagecoach. And don't say the British kids don't want these jobs because that's total B0ll0cks. Get our youngsters into work first .
I just hope that Morrisons recruit mainly british workers , as it seems that Lidl and Aldi mainly recruit foreign workers . how are they allowed to do this I don't know, the same applies to McDonalds , Kentucky, Thamesdown transport and Stagecoach. And don't say the British kids don't want these jobs because that's total B0ll0cks. Get our youngsters into work first . Davethered

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