Morrisons ‘in development row’ according to reports

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Supermarket giant Morrisons is in a legal row with a group of property developers over a number of supermarket sites it has pulled out of building, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

The newspaper reported that sources say there are currently a number of ongoing court proceedings that could decide multi-million pound payouts in favour of a number of developers.

One developer, Wessex Investors told The Sunday Telegraph that it is waiting for a ruling from London’s commercial court on whether Morrisons could walk away from its contractual commitment in Launceston, east Cornwall.

Tim Jones, who run’s Wessex’s Plymouth office, told The Sunday Telegraph: “This was a major development site that required a large supermarket to inject capital in the site and act as the catalyst for building. The site would have also included 275 homes, a hotel and leisure facilities.”

He added: “We obtained the site for Morrisons and they were granted planning consent for a 53,000 sq ft superstore. But we have run into a brick wall as they have tried to wriggle out of the commitments, meaning this development and the 300 jobs it would have created has all been put on hold.”

Mr Jones went on to say that Morrisons is arguing that local authorties imposed excessive noise conditions on the supermarket. But his legal team replied that the conditions are of the same nature as other developments, the papaer reports.

A spokesman for Morrisons declined to comment, when approached by The Yorkshire Post.

Earlier this month the embattled supermarket warned that its recovery will take “years not months” as it announced the closure of 11 ​supermarkets, including one in Yorkshire, putting 900 jobs at risk.

The Bradford-based chain announced the news after a 47 per cent slump in half year profits to £126m, its lowest level in nine years, after disgruntled shoppers switched to discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Morrisons announced the sale of its convenience stores, having decided they were in the wrong place to build a successful small store business.

​It is selling its M local store network to retail entrepreneur Mike Greene, who plans to keep all 2,300 staff.

New CEO David Potts has slashed head office numbers from 3,500 to 2,000 and brought in 5,000 more in-store staff in a bid to return to basics.