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Gravesham Council must fork out £15,000 in legal costs over a Tesco planning application which the authority was judged to have dealt with ‘‘unreasonably’’.

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The council failed to make a decision within a specified time frame on whether Burlington Estates Investments Ltd, acting on behalf of the supermarket, should be allowed to build a Tesco Express in Whinfell Way, Gravesend.

It led the developers to lodge an appeal with the planning inspectorate, who judged on March 19 that the council had “failed to substantiate its reasons for refusal and this amounts to unreasonable behaviour”.

Council bosses and supermarket chiefs were locked into a legal wrangle on the due amount of costs, which they settled on June 7 at £15,000.

The store will now become the fifth Tesco in a five-mile radius.

Chairman of Gravesend and Dartford Liberal Democrats Martin Wilson said the planning inspectorate’s decision was against the wishes of local people.

He said: “This Tescopoly business has been going on all over the country for several years now and there are many instances where many Tesco Express shops have been approved against local wishes and in spite of some quite fierce opposition.”

A spokesman for Burlington Estates said: “It was agreed that the council had behaved unacceptably and was found in our favour.”

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