New Lidl supermarket and apartments now in doubt as High Court throws out planning permission

A new Lidl supermarket has had its planning permission quashed by a high court judge.

The huge development, on a 27-acre site off Darwen Road in Bromley Cross, Bolton, which also includes 43 retirement apartments, has enjoyed permission since Bolton Council granted it in September, 2021.

The authority also granted permission for four football pitches and a 91-space commuter car park for Bromley Cross train station.

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However, a case was brought by Co-operative Group Ltd against Bolton Council was heard on January 13 at the High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division planning court.

As a result of that case, which the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands was not defended by Bolton Council, a court order was issued by His Honor Judge Stephen Davies.

It states: “The claimant is granted permission to challenge the defendant’s decision dated September 1, to grant planning permission for land off Darwen Road, Bromley Cross.

“Planning permission is hereby quashed and the application is remitted to the defendant’s local planning authority for redetermination.”

Judge Davies also ordered Bolton Council to pay Co-Operative Group’s legal costs for the case which means the authority will hand over £12,532 to them.

Lidl (Great Britain) Ltd was named on the court order as an interested party.

The order stated that Lidl did not ‘play any part in the proceedings and has confirmed that it does not wish to do so’.

The court order means that the development does not have current planning permission.

The order has been published on Bolton Council’s planning website but no other details of the basis of the Co-Operative Group’s case have been made public.

It is understood an update on the matter will be given to members of Bolton’s planning committee at a meeting on Thursday, February 3.

The previous approved planning permission contained for proposals apartments at the site

Bromley Cross councillor Samantha Connor issued a statement on behalf of the ward’s three Conservative councilors saying they were ‘very concerned’ about the court order.

It read: “As your local councilors we are all very concerned about this. We are setting up meetings with officers to find out exactly what has happened. We know this is not ideal, but we will post again when we know the full facts.

“We should point out that this is not a final determination of the matter. Please bear with us as we investigate.”

The plans, approved last September, were first endorsed by councilors in January 2021, but then needed signing off by the Secretary of State.

The store was set to be built on a 27-acre site with a car park for 125 vehicles at the derelict former Holland Garden Center and green belt land at the rear.

The proposals also include a retirement living development of 43 apartments for over 55s, a mix of one and two-bedroom flats, and a 37-space car park.

New football pitches, two full size and two junior size, as well as a new clubhouse and car parking, would be used by Bromley Cross Football Club and the wider community.

The original planning application had to go to the Secretary of State as the development comprised inappropriate development on the green belt and includes the provision of buildings with more than 1,000 square meters of floorspace.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said they would issue a response after the council meeting on February 3.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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