Dunnes Stores has faced criticism by the High Court for its alleged ‘abuse of process’ in trying to overturn retention permission granted by An Bord Pleanala for elements of the Ferrybank shopping centre in Kilkenny, the Irish Independent reports.
The case dates back to 2007 when Dunnes Stores entered into a development agreement with Holtglen, part of Deerland Construction Limited, and agreed to pay €37.5 million for its anchor store at Ferrybank to be constructed.
In 2009, according to the Irish Independent, Holtglen said it had achieved ‘practical completion of the store’, giving the retailer 20 weeks to fit it out. However, Dunnes Stores disputed the claim that completion had been achieved.
In 2012, the High Court upheld an arbitrator's decision that Holtglen was entitled to a €20 million payment from Dunnes Stores, which it failed to pay, leading to Holtglen issuing proceedings to have the retailer wound up. Dunnes Stores paid the amount due on the night before the court hearing for that petition.
Then in 2013, Deerland applied to Kilkenny County Council for retention of six items, including four windows that are part of the anchor store, and which were installed at the request of Dunnes Stores.
The council approved retention, which Dunnes Stores appealed. However, An Bord Pleanala upheld the decision. In February of this year, Dunnes began a judicial review of the An Bord Pleanala decision.
Justice Max Barret dismissed he proceedings, stating, "If truth be told, they have nothing to do with planning law and everything to do with Dunnes securing advantage for itself in a long-running contractual dispute with Deerland and National Asset Loan Management,"
"The retention permission authorises five alterations, which individually and collectively, are minor and cosmetic in nature," he explained, adding that Dunnes Stores had in fact had no issues with these alterations.
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.