Telford and Wrekin Council defends supermarket challenge

Protests held against a store development in Newport
Image caption Many local residents opposed the various plans for supermarkets in Newport

A council has defended claims it wasted public money on a failed legal bid to prevent a supermarket being built.

The Court of Appeal threw out the Telford and Wrekin Council case on Wednesday, paving the way for a new store on Audley Avenue, Newport.

The council's opposition group leader has accused the authority of treating public funds like "monopoly money".

Telford and Wrekin insisted many of the costs throughout the planning process had been "unavoidable".

On Thursday, leader of the Conservative group, Andrew Eade, claimed the legal challenge launched by the council was likely to have cost more than £1.5m.

The Labour-run authority said this figure covered not only the Audley Avenue challenge, but also costs associated with applications for two other supermarkets in Newport - one it had championed on council-owned land at Station Road.

The authority said its legal challenges against stores at Audley Avenue and Mere Park had together cost £157,000, rather than the £1.5m put forward by Mr Eade.

"We are now reflecting on the Court of Appeal judgement and what we will do next, however, we can say that we don't believe this judgement is in the overall best interests of the people of Newport and Telford," the council said.

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