At Monday evening's Development Management Committee there was a debate on an application by Aldi to build a store next to Asda at Myrekirk. This was odd given that Dundee City Council's Development Management Committee agreed to the very same application last year. I have concerns about why we were put in a position to make a decision on an issue that we had already decided upon.
I support people and companies having recourse to the courts in order to ensure that the law has been correctly applied. I would point out that when the council ends being involved in this there is a cost to council taxpayer.
I have written to the Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance MSP, to raise my concerns about this case. It is ludicrous, in my opinion, that we were asked to make a judgement on an identical planning application to one which had already been approved. I asked on Monday night why the council did not just say that we had a position on this and move on. I understand why I was told that this could not happen but I think that does mean that we should consider whether the law should be changed. I felt that both Aldi and Asda were playing games on Monday evening with their deputations. That may be fine for two commercial rivals to do what they think they must to preserve their profits but this impacts on the people of Dundee and has a potential to impact on the future of council services in Dundee.
I am particularly concerned about the cost to Dundee City Council of court proceedings which may or may not be the result, in part at least, of a commercial tactic to prevent rival shops from opening.
I do hope that the various planning applications and legal proceedings in this case are all genuine. It would be appalling if any of these parties were playing games to frustrate the sales potential of a rival.
I think that councillors and the council were put in a very difficult position on Monday evening and that a change in legislation might go some way to stopping this happening in the future.