Lidl accuses supermarket rival Tesco of being 'serial objector' to Irish plans
Published 22/10/2016 | 02:30
Lidl has accused Tesco Ireland of being "a serial objector" to its plans of expanding its store network here.
Lidl made the charge in planning documents in response to Tesco lodging an appeal against it securing planning permission for a new store in Drogheda, Co Louth.
An Bord Pleanála has now given Lidl planning permission for the Drogheda plan. In a double planning reversal for Tesco, the board has also given the green light for a new Aldi store at Leixlip in Co Kildare which Tesco also opposed.
Tesco lodged planning appeals earlier this year against both developments with An Bord Pleanála.
It has now lodged fresh appeals with the board against two other Lidl store, in Ardee in Co Louth and Edenderry in Co Offaly.
The board's inspector's report in relation to the planned Lidl store at Drogheda reveals that Lidl in correspondence claimed that "Tesco Ireland is a serial objector with the objective of delaying planning permission".
Lidl requested the board 'to consider the appeal vexatious, frivolous and anti-competitive in motivation'.
In a reply letter, Tesco Ireland stated that it "does not agree that the appeal is frivolous or vexatious".
Evaluating Lidl's charge that the Tesco appeal was frivolous, the inspector in the case stated that "while there is an element of anti-competition (in the Tesco appeal) the points raised in the appeal are not without substance or foundation".
She stated: "The appeal is not to my knowledge made with the sole intention of delaying the development."
During 2015 and 2014, Tesco lodged six appeals against discount stores and was successful on four occasions when planning was refused in Cork City; Malahide in Dublin; Bailleborough, Co Cavan; and Kildare town.
The retailer's practice of opposing proposed new Aldi and Lidl stores in towns and cities where is has a presence comes against the background of rapid growth of the two German retailers in the €10bn Irish grocery market.
Over the past three years, Aldi and Lidl's market share has grown by 7pc to a combined 23pc at a cost to the larger players in the business.