COMMENT: It's David and Goliath '“Â but this time the giant has won
Let us first say that there is no suggestion that anyone has acted in any other way than within the absolute letter of the law.
That said, the case of Lidl versus several local businesses is one of David and Goliath where it has failed to follow the Biblical script.
And it leaves one with a bad taste in the mouth.
After a long and bitter legalÂ battle, the German supermarket giant, backed by the local authority '“Â Fareham Borough Council '“ has won permission at the High Court to demolish its current site in Newgate Lane, Fareham, and replace it with a larger store.
It is a move that will force it's neighbouring businesses atÂ the Apex Centre to sell up as Lidl takes over the land they currently sit onÂ for its expansion plans.
While Lidl declined to comment on this latest development, it has previously framed theÂ move as one that would benefit the local community, and that itsÂ '˜existing and future customers are at the heart of our decision making.' It claims the expansion will bring more jobs and '˜enhance our customers' shopping experience.'
That is cold comfort to the 14 established businesses affected by this, some of who say this decision could ultimately cost them jobs and push them under.
Lidl has also said it will aid the businesses to move, but even then it may not be financially viable for them to continue trading.
When we are told that our government and local authorities are doing all they can to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, this feels wrong.
And unless there is something of a miracle, those small businesses will be unable to pursue an appeal as it is simply too costly, and they won't have time to raise the fund before the deadline. The odds are stacked against them.
But this is capitalism, and it seems that in this instance the market has prevailed.