Discounters Aldi and Lidl are having their new store opening plans interrupted due to planning objections by rival supermarkets.
These actions are often in the form of a judicial review challenge after the plans have been given the go-ahead, forcing councillors and building managers to reconsider.
With customers already switching to discounters as they hunt for the best deals amid the cost-of-living crisis, these objections are significant as they are disrupting potential trade and profits for both retailers.
The supermarkets say that process can add a year or more to a process already taking up to 18 months, with delays also blamed on under-resourced council planning departments and building material shortages.
Aldi’s planning applications have been subject to 77 competitor objections since 2020 and 12 judicial reviews.
Lidl is reportedly experiencing a similarly high rate of challenges but no judicial review challenge has ultimately stopped a store from progressing.
In October last year, an application for a Lidl in Gillingham, Kent, was approved for a fourth time, but was faced with challenges from Asda which has a larger supermarket across the road from the site.
Asda had argued the Lidl store could harm town centre retailers. Tesco, with a store 3.5 miles away from the proposed site, had raised similar concerns.
“There might be a few cynics in the world that would think that Asda’s objective here was something to do with their own competitive position rather than the flood risk to the good people of Medway,” said Cllr Stuart Tranter.
“I feel very comfortable in supporting this application and I very much hope we don’t hear from Asda again.
“I think they are behaving like gangsters with deep pockets trying to run their rivals out of town, not dissimilar to the Las Vegas mobsters who tried to keep their rivals off the strip back in the day.
“I fully support this store, local people want this store and this should go ahead,” Tranter said.