Tesco wins legal battle after rival’s challenge threatens new 400-job store

Grahame Morris

Grahame Morris

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A LEGAL challenge which halted plans for a multimillion-pound supermarket and 400 jobs new has been thrown out.

Tesco was granted approval for an Extra store in Peterlee in June last year, but had to put a stop to its efforts to redevelop the former East Durham College site in Essington Way, after a rival objected to Durham County Council’s decision to give it the green light.

The decision will be good news for the town, which this week lost 300 temporary jobs at its Caterpillar plant.

Praxis, which owns the Castle Dene shopping centre opposite the plot – and was given permission to build a supermarket on its site – had taken its objections against the council’s approval for Tesco to a judicial review.

The case was put before Leeds Combined Court earlier this month and although the official ruling has not been published, the Echo understands the challenge was rejected, which should now allow Tesco to press on.

Praxis, which can appeal, is expected to have to pay the council’s legal costs for putting the case before a judge.

It argued there was not enough trade in for the two Peterlee sites, plus another retail development at Dalton Park.

Stuart Timmiss, the authority’s head of planning, said: “We are very pleased that the court has upheld the members’ decision.”

A separate case against the council in regards to its approval of the phase two of Dalton Park, a £24million development plan which includes a hotel, cinema, restaurants, supermarket and petrol station, is expected to be heard by the same court in coming weeks.

A spokesman for Tesco, which plans to build a new library as part of its eco-friendly 500-space car park scheme, said: “We are pleased with this decision which helps us clarify our position going forward.”

Praxis, which owns Castle Dene under its Salford Estates portfolio, was unable to comment.

The company had been criticised by Easington MP Grahame Morris, for allegedly staling the arrival of much-needed investment and jobs to the area.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham