Supermarket giant Aldi has plunged Dundee City Council into the midst of a major legal battle.
The retailer has lodged an appeal to the sheriff court in a bid to overturn the licensing board’s decision to deny its newest supermarket the right to sell alcohol.
The legal challenge could have widespread implications for the city as it is understood the appeal could challenge it’s overprovision policy, which looks to limit alcohol sales.
A preliminary hearing could take place within months but it is likely that the matter will then drag on for longer.
That will embroil the council in a potentially costly battle and also delay the start of work on the Myrekirk Road store even further.
Aldi has made it very clear that it will not consider operating a supermarket without an alcohol licence as that would place it at a significant disadvantage to competitors.
Having granted the German discounter permission to build at Myrekirk Road, it came as a huge shock when councillors barred it from selling beer, wines and spirits in January.
Without the licence the £1.5 million store and its 30 living wage jobs will be in jeopardy, as will plans to create as many as three additional stores in Dundee.
Elected members on the licensing board took the decision on the grounds of “overprovision” of alcohol licences in the city.
Among those who spoke against the development was NHS Tayside’s Dr Drew Walker, who said granting the licence could put public health at risk.
The firm could have taken the case back to the licensing board but, with the firm planning to open even more stores in Dundee, it is thought bosses feared coming up against the same roadblock time and again.
At present Aldi trades from shops in the Stack, Lochee and at Arbroath Road.
Myrekirk Road would be its third outlet, with the retailer having worked for “several years to identify a site that can best serve residents in the west of the city”.
Its longer-term plan is, however, part of a city-wide investment strategy that would see Aldi operate up to six stores.
That would represent a total capital investment running into several millions of pounds and would potentially support more than 180 jobs.
The company has been looking at sites across the city and believes there is the potential to open in Broughty Ferry, within the city centre and on PerthRoad.
A spokesman for Aldi told The Courier: “I can confirm we have lodged an appeal against the decision and until this is heard we will be issuing no further comment.”