Arla dairy

RPS successfully negotiated planning permission for the comprehensive mixed-use redevelopment of the former Arla Dairy located to the edge of South Ruislip local centre within the London Borough of Hillingdon.


The scheme comprises a large foodstore, multiplex cinema, five restaurant units and 132 residential units together with associated public realm improvements.

RPS led the planning process including the coordination of a range of consultants involved in the preparation of the planning application and negotiations with Hillingdon Council and the Greater London Authority.

We prepared a retail and leisure assessment in support of the proposals including detailed evidence on sequential sites and retail and leisure impacts. We subsequently submitted representations to the Local Plan resulting in the successful allocation of the site for mixed commercial and residential purposes.

Key details

Project name
Arla dairy, South Ruislip

Citygrove Securities plc

South Ruislip, London

Services provided

  • Town planning
  • Air quality


The main challenges presented by the project related to the need to demonstrate: 

  • the scale of the proposed development and the range of commercial uses proposed were appropriate;
  • the proposals would have no significant adverse effects upon town centres;
  • there were no sequentially preferable sites; and
  • the proposed layout of the scheme optimised the redevelopment potential of the site in terms of linkages with the local centre.

A key requirement was to demonstrate that a rival scheme relating to the redevelopment of the existing Sainsbury’s store, which anchors South Ruislip local centre, would not be harmed by the provision of a new food store on the dairy site and that the Sainsbury’s site was not sequential preferable.

Arla dairly - project image.jpg


We took a proactive role from initial project inception to determination, judicial review by the High Court and the subsequent discharge of pre-commencement conditions, managing a large consultant team and client expectations.  

Our experts prepared detailed evidence relating to the hierarchy and health of local town centres, carefully assessing the potential effects of the proposed commercial uses and demonstrating compliance with the London Plan. Our findings were independently verified by the Council’s retail consultants and accepted by the Greater London Authority.

Our sequential site analysis demonstrated that there were no suitable or available sites within or to the edge of relevant local town centres; successfully demonstrating that rival proposals to redevelop the existing Sainsbury’s store did not comprise a sequentially preferable site.

We were able to convince the Council that the proposed scheme layout represented the only commercially viable solution given the configuration and the characteristics of the site. As part of this process a scheme of public realm improvements was developed to improve connectively and integration with the local centre.

Project statistics

7,131 sq m
Asda food store
screen Cineworld multiplex cinema
Class A3 restaurant units
residential units (including 10% affordable units)

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