STOURPORT’S supermarket wars are to move to London’s Court of Appeal.

The owners of Stourport’s Co-op supermarket have won the go-ahead to bring a fresh legal challenge to the grant of planning permission for rival Tesco to build a giant new store which, it claims, could force the Co-op to close and “devastate” the town centre.

In March, the Midcounties Co-operative Limited failed to persuade High Court judge Mr Justice Ouseley to quash the planning permission granted by Wyre Forest District Council for a superstore at the former Carpets of Worth site, on Severn Road.

Now, though, it has won the go-ahead to take its case to London's Court of Appeal.

Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Dyson ruled that Midcounties has an arguable case, justifying a full appeal hearing on a date yet to be scheduled.

Midcounties claims the council granted permission for a supermarket 20 per cent bigger than indicated on Tesco’s planning application, even though the council’s retail consultants had been operating on the smaller figure and, even then, had not been convinced of the need for the store.

It argues that the council acted outside of its powers in permitting a new Tesco store of 2,919 square metres of net sales space, rather than the 2,401 indicated in the application development or failed to have regard to the fact that the actual size of the development would be significantly larger than the figure indicated in the application.

It says Mr Justice Ouseley erred in law in not holding that the planning permission was unlawful as a result of the council approving more than was applied for.

Alternatively, it says the judge was wrong not to hold the permission unlawful as a result of uncertainty or discrepancies in the figures on which the council based its decision.

Midcounties warned at the High Court hearing earlier this year that the store would lead to the closure of the town centre Tesco Metro store and could cause its own Co-op supermarket to close.

It claimed its store “anchors” Stourton town centre, and that the new Tesco store would have a “devastating impact” on the vitality and viability of the town centre.

It also claimed the plans would create traffic congestion and have a significant adverse impact on conservation areas next to the site.