Tesco has withdrawn an application to set up an express store in the Strand Shopping Centre.
Last month we reported how a licensing application for the new store in Douglas had been successfully legally challenged by the owners of Shoprite.
A statement issued by the Strand Shopping Centre today said: ’We are disappointed to advise that Tesco have surrendered the alcohol licence they were provisionally granted in December 2015 for their intended new store at The Strand Shopping Centre.
’This licence was never formally issued due to the number of appeals and Tesco have withdrawn their plans to open a new store in the centre.’
Louise Whyman, centre manager said: ’This is a disappointing outcome but with the lengthy timescale and mounting costs for all parties, with no end date for resolution I understand why this decision had been reached by Tesco.’
Tesco have been asked for a comment but are yet to issue any statement.
In December 2015, the licensing court granted a provisional off-licence for a proposed Tesco Express in the former Manx Electricity Authority showroom at the shopping centre.
Since then, the shopping centre has changed hands and is now owned by Sports Direct.
Shoprite owners Isle of Man Enterprises appealed against the licensing court’s decision and sought permission to bring new evidence at the appeal hearing but the licensing court of appeal (LCA) refused to admit new evidence.
Shoprite’s parent company then obtained an adjournment of the appeal hearing and lodged a petition of doleance to try to quash that decision and have its application heard by a differently constituted LCA.
The claimant argued that the LCA was wrong in law in refusing to allow new evidence.
And it questioned whether a perception of bias or unconscious bias arose from the fact that the chairman of the LCA sat on a number of the same tribunals as counsel for Tesco.
The LCA refused to state its case on that latter allegation and described it as a ’frivolous’, which prompted Shoprite’s owners to lodge a second petition of doleance seeking an order compelling the LCA to state its case.
At a hearing in November, Tesco’s advocate pointed out that as the shopping centre is under new ownership it was likely that further evidence would need to be placed before the LCA anyway.
In a judgment, last month Deemster Cain ruled that the LCA’s decision be quashed and remitted, as per Isle of Man Enterprise’s first doleance claim.
This was with the consent of the LCA and allowed the second doleance petition to be withdrawn.