Plans by Aldi to introduce unrestricted delivery hours at its new Highbridge store have this week been opposed by town councillors amid concern that deliveries will create late night noise for residents and guests at the soon-to-open Travelodge hotel next door.
The store, which opened in August in Bennett Road, is currently only able to accept deliveries between 6am until 11pm as part of a planning condition put in place by the district council to “safeguard residents from noise and disturbance”.
However, Aldi wants the condition removed and a three-month trial of the unrestricted hours has been underway since the end of August to see if nearby residents are affected.
The store has submitted a formal application to have the delivery time restrictions fully removed, saying that no residents have objected so far.
At a meeting of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Town Council’s Planning Applications Committee on Wednesday (October 10th), councillors felt it was too soon to give approval to the application.
Cllr John Parkes added: “You would hope that Aldi would engage with local residents before asking for unrestricted delivery hours. It’s a bit rich for them to say there have been no objections when they are only about four weeks into the trial.”
“It worries me that a new Travelodge hotel is coming next door and unrestricted night time deliveries are being planned. There are lots of residents in nearby Isleport Lane and surely they too will be affected by the noise.”
Cllr Louise Parkin said: “The trial only started at the end of August – it’s supposed to be three months. A three month trial should be a three month trial and not just a few weeks.”
Cllr Martin Cox agreed, adding: “I would like to see Aldi seeking some feedback from residents and Travelodge about these plans.”
Cllr Andy Bewer said: “It’s a valid point, but playing ‘devils advocate’, this store is at the entrance to an industrial estate where there are many factories that have no restriction times on access by lorries.”
Cllr Parkin responded: “Yes, but a Travelodge hotel and unrestricted delivery hours are not compatible.”
Cllr Peter Clayton agreed, saying that he would recommend a refusal of Aldi’s application.
Cllr Parkes noted: “We are always banging on about consistency, so are Tesco or Asda allowed 24 hour delivery? No.”
The Chairman of the committee, Cllr Brewer, concluded: “We are all against this on the basis that Aldi are only part way through their trial period, the store is close to the soon-to-open Travelodge hotel and there would a negative impact on tourism and occupants.”
He added: “When the original Aldi application was considered it was noted that it could create more lorries along Church Street in the middle of the night going along the A38 to Aldi in Bridgwater – those were concerns then and would be now.”
Councillors agreed to unanimously object against the plans, subject to a final decision by Sedgemoor District Council.