Legal challenge threat to supermarket jobs
A SHOPPING centre has launched a legal challenge against plans to create two new supermarkets.
Salford Estates, which owns Castle Dene Shopping Centre in Peterlee, has called for a Judicial Review against the decision to allow the £24m phase two development at Dalton Park in Murton.
The firm is taking the same action against Durham County Council over its decision to allow Tesco to build an Extra store on the former East Durham College site, in Peterlee.
Salford, which was given permission for its own store at the shopping centre, says there is not enough capacity for all three stores.
Both rival schemes would generate 500 jobs, with the Dalton Park project to include a five-screen cinema, restaurants, hotel and petrol station, while the Tesco scheme features a new library.
The challenge comes almost a year after the three schemes were approved.
Salford Estates is challenging the procedures the council went through with the proposals, but will not offer a substitute conclusion.
While the council’s planning officers recommended approval for Tesco and Castle Dene plans, they said Dalton Park should be refused because it went against policy.
But, councillors went against their guidance and said the Murton scheme would benefit the area and approved it along with the two other applications.
Salford Estates has been criticsed by campaigners backing the developments, which they say will bring much-needed jobs and private investment to east Durham.
“This is affecting job creation and investment in an area which desperately needs it,” said Easington MP Grahame Morris.
Salford Estates has said Dalton Park would “strike a body blow to the vitality of Peterlee and the livelihoods of those that work in the town”.
It claimed its plan would be the only right location for a new foodstore in Peterlee and said its scheme backs what the Government, council and retail expert Mary Portas have been calling for.
The company called for Mr Morris to “get behind initiatives that benefit Peterlee and its businesses not those that would see business lost elsewhere”.
The company spokesman added: “The proposed Tesco will, like the Dalton Park foodstore, draw business away from the town centre.”
Dalton Park’s owner ING Real Estate Development had been preparing to announce which businesses would be moving in to the extension in coming weeks.
A spokesman said the firm was “disappointed” adding: “Unfortunately, the process will involve a further significant delay to the delivery of the project and the new jobs it will create and investment it will bring to the area, despite the very strong support we have had and continue to have from the local community.”
Tesco’s corporate affairs manager Doug Wilson said: “People who really know Peterlee also know that the old college site is in the town centre and a new supermarket will actually draw people in, to the benefit of all traders.
“It should not be overlooked that as part of Tesco’s investment in the town a fantastic new library will also be built.
“Finally, we are, of course, aware Salford Estates is also trying to stop jobs and investment coming to Dalton Park.
“Together with Tesco these two developments will create a thousand jobs.”
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Weather for Peterlee
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North