Telford Shopping Centre owners in legal challenge

The owners of Telford Shopping Centre have launched a legal challenge at the Court of Appeal in London.

Telford Trustee No 1 Ltd and Telford Trustee No 2 Ltd oppose plans for an Asda superstore on the site of the Telford and Wrekin Council Offices.

They claim the new superstore would take shoppers out of the town centre.

The council is accused of racing through the planning decision but its lawyers claim there was no error in law.

'Anxious scrutiny'

The trustees also have permission to build an Asda store on the Red Oak Car Park, closer to the centre.

They are concerned that the council, which stood to gain financially from the sale of its civic offices, granted Asda's application within nine weeks in January 2010, but took nine months to grant them permission for their rival scheme in September.

Counsel for the Trustees, Christopher Katkowski QC opened the case saying: "As owners of Telford town centre, the Trustees' commercial best interests coincide with proper retail planning, which has at its heart, the town centre's first approach.

"A case like this one, in which a council has granted permission for development on its own locationally inferior land and self-avowedly raced through the decision to do so demands the most anxious scrutiny," he said.

Asda are also represented in court. The company argues that it has a lease on the 600 spaces of Red Oak Car Park until 2014 which does not make the site truly available for development.

The hearing is expected to last two days after which judgement is expected to be reserved and given in writing later.

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