New Aldi and Home Bargains stores in Dundee will be permitted to sell alcohol after a court ruling saw a controversial council policy binned.
The new Aldi store is to be built near Tom Johnston Road in Broughty Ferry – close to Sainsbury’s – while Home Bargains will open soon at Myrekirk.
After initially being refused an off-sales licence, Aldi appealed the case in court, with a sheriff ruling that a council policy designed to limit availability of booze was unlawful.
The ruling, by Sheriff Lindsay Foulis, said the policy did not take into account that the area near the proposed Aldi has the lowest number of outlets selling alcohol in Dundee.
He also noted that alcohol-related harm is associated with areas of urban deprivation and the proposed site does not fit into this category.
The policy, introduced in 2014, meant applicants for licences had to prove they would not harm public health – or else they would be rejected.
The only exception to the ruling was the Waterfront area.
Numerous businesses saw their bids to sell alcohol rejected as a result.
Aldi wins second legal challenge against council
But in 2016 the council lost a legal challenge by Aldi over its policy, after it had been refused a booze licence for its store at Myrekirk.
Despite concerns from lawyers, the council introduced a refreshed policy in 2018 that focused on off-sales applications only – with pubs and restaurants exempt – which led to it rejecting Aldi’s Broughty Ferry bid.
But Aldi challenged that and has now won a second time.
The application, along with Home Bargains, was discussed by the council’s licensing board on Thursday – when chair Stewart Hunter conceded there was no choice but to approve the licences.
Representing Aldi, Aidan O’Neill QC told councillors on the board there was no longer any basis to reject the application.
He said: “What the decision of the sheriff means is that the board, at the moment, has no overprovision policy.
“The previous objections are no longer valid ones because they were based squarely on the issue of the policy.
“That means the board is, in effect, obliged to grant the application.”
The council’s senior licensing solicitor, Brian Woodcock, confirmed the policy “can no longer be applied”.
In approving the applications, Mr Hunter said: “As has been advised, there is no overprovision policy and therefore there is no policy that this application is contrary to.
“There’s also no objections from the NHS or anyone else, so on that basis I think we’re in the position where we have to grant the application.”
The decision paves the way for Aldi to finally build the store, which was first proposed in 2019.