Court of Appeal backs Newport supermarket plans

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Telford and Wrekin Council has lost a legal battle to prevent a new supermarket being built in Newport.

It had sought to block the building of a store on Audley Avenue, but saw the development backed by a public inquiry in 2012 and then by a High Court decision last year.

The council's latest challenge has now been thrown out after a two-day hearing at the Court of Appeal.

Telford and Wrekin said it was "disappointed with the judgement".

The decision clears the way for a Morrisons store on the brownfield site at Audley Avenue.

It also puts in doubt the Labour-run council's plans for a Sainsbury's on greenfield land it owns at nearby Station Road.

'Monopoly money'

Conservative opposition group leader Andrew Eade said the council's lengthy legal challenge "never held water" and is likely to have cost more than £1.5m.

He said his own freedom of information request 12 months ago showed at the time it had cost the council £1.3m

"This isn't monopoly money, this isn't toytown money we're playing with here," he said.

"This shows reckless control of what is public money and public services."

In February, the local authority announced £22m budget cuts over the next two years.

In a statement, Telford and Wrekin Council said its only aim in bringing the legal challenge was "to protect the public purse".

The sale of land at Station Road was expected to provide a cash boost to the council.

"We need to take some time to consider the judgment and what we do next.

"We have no further comment to make at this time," a spokesperson said.

"Until we have received the full written judgement, we are unable to put an exact figure of how much the council's legal bill will be at this stage."

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