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English Español Ireland: Applegreen may be improperly using planning rules, rivals claim

The complaint alleges that the company is engaging in a strategic practice of objecting to rival planning applications to win advantage over them.



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Author: PetrolPlaza Correspondent Pablo Plaza

Supermac’s chain and Plaza Group have filled a complaint to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of Ireland alleging that the fuel retailer and motorway services company Applegreen has improperly used planning rules to hamper its rival’s development plans.

Both companies argue that Applegreen is abusing the system, reports The Irish Times. This strategic practice of objecting to rival planning applications, according to Supermac’s and Plaza Group, would aim at delaying their development plans for a number of years.

Plaza Group alleges that Applegreen offered to withdraw the objection to one of his developments plan in exchange of granting Applegreen the concession to sell petrol and diesel in its future site. Supermac’s chain also alleges Applegreen offered to lift an objection in return for a concession to seel some food and beverages in its new site for an initial period of 10 years.

Applegreen has made 27 submissions regarding its rivals’ proposed development plans in the last three years, according to The Irish Times. When the developments were approved by local authorities, in 10 occasions, Applegreen decided then to make an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

Applegreen defends that those objections were presented in relation to development plans that would lead to an over-proliferation of fuel stations in a certain area, affecting traffic safety and being these in contravention of local and national policies.

With a total revenue of €2 billion last year – 41% more from the previous annual financial exercise –, Applegreen currently operates 193 sites in Ireland, 158 in UK and 121 in US.

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