The future of a fourth Aldi in Dundee is in jeopardy after the budget supermarket was refused an alcohol licence for a new shop.
The city’s licensing board unanimously agreed not to give Aldi an off-sales licence for it’s yet-to-be-built store in Tom Johnston Road.
Councillors said it would breach the board’s over-provision policy, which states there are too many off-sales in the city and assumes against granting alcohol licensing unless individual circumstances warrant approval.
It has left the future of the Aldi, due to be built at the West Pitkerro Industrial Estate, in doubt.
Solicitors representing the supermarket said they planned to appeal the decision but Aldi bosses did not respond to numerous requests for comment when asked if they still plan to go ahead with the new store.
Dr Emma Fletcher, NHS Tayside associate director of public health medicine, objected to the licence on behalf of the health board and Dundee City Alcohol and Drug Partnership.
She said: “Alcohol availability is recognised as an important environmental factor for influencing patterns of alcohol use.
“There is a strong body of evidence from around the world demonstrating that ease of access to alcohol is associated with increased alcohol consumption and alcohol-related health and social harms.
“The proportion of alcohol sold through the off-sales trade sector has increased over the last two decades, and purchases from off-sales premises now account for almost three-quarters of all alcohol sold in Scotland.
“Dundee has a higher number of off-sales premises per head of population than in Scotland as a whole.
“Across Scotland, higher densities of off-sales alcohol outlets are disproportionally located in areas of greater deprivation and this contributes to the stark inequalities in alcohol-related health harm.”
Lawyers from TLT Solicitors argued that the Aldi will offer greater choice to residents of Broughty Ferry and the future owners of various housing developments due to be built in the area.
Caroline Loudon from TLT said: “There will be a significant amount of new families and homes which can be serviced by this new Aldi.
“Looking at the existing provision, this has the lowest density [for alcohol sales],
“I would say there is no overprovision in this area at all.”
“There is no choice at the moment.”
Board members were concerned approving the licence would set a precedent to go against its overprovision policy.
Chairman Stewart Hunter said: “I’m convinced the over-provision policy is valid.
“We treat every application on its own merits and we have in the past granted exceptions.
“I don’t have any concerns about how Aldi go about their businesses, they are a very responsible retailer.
“However I’m not minded that this should be an exception.”
Planning permission for the Aldi was also rejected by councillors, but this was later overturned on appeal.
The original application was rejected by 17 votes to six because the three-hectare site had been reserved for industrial rather than retail use.
Concerns were also raised that the store would drive customers away from shops in the heart of Broughty Ferry.
The plans were slammed by Broughty Ferry community council, whose members feared the store would cause congestion.
But a Scottish Government reporter said there are no preferable sites for the £4.25 million development, which will create 35 full-time jobs.