CO-OP bosses have been told customers are “turning their backs” on its Cinderford store due to its repeated legal challenges over new supermarket plans.
Proposals for an Asda store at Steam Mills Road have been approved by Forest of Dean planners twice - but the Co-op claims they are against regulations and have appealed to the High Court.
Councillor Patrick Molyneux, leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said the latest appeal “comes as a surprise” after a successful challenge in 2012 cost the council more than £200,000.
He has written to Co-op’s interim chief executive Richard Pennycook, to express growing frustration.
Mr Molyneux said: “It has been brought to my attention that Midcounties Co-operative has recently lodged a Judicial Challenge of this council’s decision to grant planning permission for a new food store.
“This is the second legal challenge that Co-op has mounted against this authority in a short space of time. This ongoing legal action to attempt the prevention or delay of further retail expansion is not only harmful to the town, but potentially damaging to your own store’s future.
“You may already be aware of the huge public support that a new foodstore has from the people of Cinderford and I suspect the impact of local anger over the Co-op’s behaviour must affect your store’s staff morale and sales.
“The legal costs we have incurred are met from local taxpayers and many are now turning their back on your store in protest.”
He has encouraged Co-op to accept the council’s democratic decision after the planning committee unanimously approved the returned application in January, taking into account the judge’s comments from the previous appeal.
A spokesman for Midcounties Co-operative, said: “Having reviewed the planning application submitted by Asda and following the decision made by the district council, we still feel that the plans for Cinderford are unsound and go against regulations.
“We remain committed to Cinderford town centre and its residents and are therefore challenging the decision based on these concerns.”
Campaign group We Want an Asda in Cinderford has around 1,700 members who are backing proposals for a new supermarket because it wants more choice in the town.
Spokesman Amanda Watkins said: “Asda is the third supermarket to try and nobody else is going to waste money trying to go up against Co-op to come here.”
The council will be defending its decision and Mr Molyneux said Cinderford is long overdue a new supermarket.
Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper backs the district council’s decision and raised the issue in the Houses of Parliament earlier this month.