IN A bid to save his company and many others, a business owner is raising money for a court fight against a council.
Kevin Arrowsmith, director of A & S Signs and Graphics Ltd, is leading a campaign against Fareham Borough Council after a planning decision was passed which would see industrial estate, the Apex Centre demolished to make way for a new Lidl store.
Lidl wants to demolish its current store off Newgate Lane, buy up the adjoining businesses and build a bigger store.
The landowner is happy to do this but the 14 businesses affected are fighting tooth and nail to stop the plans happening as they say it will ruin them.
They are now challenging the council’s decision to grant planning permission this year.
Mr Arrowsmith, 47, received backing from the Environmental Law Foundation in a bid to quash the decision and papers to settle the dispute outside court were delivered to the council last month.
However the council has since rejected the basis of the pre-court action papers and Mr Arrowsmith and his legal team at Francis Taylor Building are set to take the case for a judicial review at the High Court.
Mr Arrowsmith said: ‘I am not surprised the council rejected the pre-court action paper to revoke the apparent unlawful planning application.
‘I am very disappointed in the council’s response.
‘My legal team believe we have a strong case and we now move on to the next legal process to save these UK businesses and UK jobs.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage was among those supporting the 14 businesses which face eviction from the site after the planning application from Lidl UK for a bigger store was granted at the end of last year.
In reply to the pre-court action papers, Fareham Borough Council dismissed the nine grounds being challenged considering them ‘to be totally without merit’.
Mr Arrowsmith has launched a crowd funding page with the aim to raise £5,000 to cover legal costs.
He added: ‘I need support to progress this case as this in all our interests and without the support of the Environment Law Foundation, the barrister and QC giving their time for free none of this would have been possible. We owe them so much gratitude.’
A council spokesperson said: ‘Fareham Borough Council has received a letter, advising that an application may be made to the courts which seeks to quash the planning permission granted to Lidl UK in April this year.
‘The council responded to this letter within the requested timescale and is now waiting to hear whether or not this matter will be progressed through the High Court.
To donate visit crowdjustice.com/case/saveapex/