SAINSBURY’S has asked Rother Council to issue a compulsory purchase order for the Tesco owned Queen Adelaide pub.
And the supermarket giant accused it’s rival of “muddying the water” and making it difficult for Sainsbury’s to progress its plans to open a new store on the Lower School site.
In a letter to Rye residents Gerald Knight, acting for Sainsbury’s, said: “Sainsbury’s bought the site from East Sussex County Council in June 2010. Tesco own the Queen Adelaide public house. Sainsbury’s own 98% of the land required to carry out the development. Tesco own only 2%.
“The submission of a planning application by Tesco on land largely outside their control is difficult to understand, but not unprecedented.
“Its effect is that it has delayed our plans and caused confusion for the people of Rye.
“Meanwhile many people in the Rye area will continue to visit stores outside Rye to do their main food shopping.
“The problem which now arises is that neither Tesco nor Sainsbury’s can implement its scheme without acquiring land from each other.
“Either Tesco has to buy all of the former school site from Sainsbury’s or Sainsbury’s has to buy the Queen Adelaide public house from Tesco. Given that the Sainsbury’s ownership is far bigger than the small amount of land owned by Tesco,
Sainsbury’s is clearly in the stronger position. However, Tesco has refused Sainsbury’s offer to buy their land.
“Tesco has not attempted to buy the Sainsbury’s land. If they did so, Sainsbury’s would refuse because it is committed to building a store on the site and believes that, as the major landowner, it has the right to do so.
“Although Sainsbury’s will continue to seek to negotiate with Tesco to acquire its land quickly so that work can begin, it might be that the only solution to this situation is for the Council to pursue a CPO enabling Sainsbury’s to buy the Tesco land.
“Ever since Tesco announced its intention to submit an application on a site largely owned by Sainsbury’s, we have made it clear that, if we were not able to buy the Queen Adelaide from Tesco, we would approach the council to request that they use their CPO powers. This we have now done.
“Regrettably the timescale involved is unpredictable, especially if Tesco continue to muddy the waters and make it as difficult as possible for Sainsbury’s and the Council to progress matters. For our part, we would like to repeat our commitment to open a new Sainsbury’s store in Rye as soon as possible.”