A legal challenge has been launched to try to prevent Hereford’s Three Counties Hotel being demolished to make way for a new Lidl discount supermarket.

The retailer's plan was only approved after lengthy debate by Herefordshire Council’s planning committee of councillors a month ago, and then not unanimously.

But now a group of concerned local residents, who so far wish to remain nameless, have begun a legal bid to try to get the council to “strike out” its own planning permission.


They claim the council’s planning officers, who were recommending approving Lidl’s plan, wrongly advised councillors on the committee, in particular that they couldn’t refuse permission on the grounds of it being a “loss of a community asset”.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have received a legal challenge to this decision and are considering our response.”

If this is unsuccessful, the group will try to get a High Court judge to quash the permission through a judicial review, which tests whether a public authority followed its own rules.


But this has to be applied for within six weeks of the original decision, the group says, adding it is seeking donations to cover its legal costs.

Fencing has recently been erected around the hotel, off the A465 Belmont Road to the southwest of the city.

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Earlier this month, Lidl declined to say what the timescale was for demolition and building works at the site.

The hotel was built only in the late 1970s and closed to guests over a year ago. It has since housed asylum seekers at the behest of the Home Office, but this use too has new ceased.

A Hereford Times poll of 252 readers last month found opinion divided on Lidl's plan, with 57 per cent opposing it and 43 per cent favouring it.