Highbridge’s Asda store has unveiled controversial new plans to introduce 24-hour deliveries amid concerns from some nearby residents that will create late night noise.
The supermarket in Caxton Road has submitted a planning application to Sedgemoor District Council to remove the current time restrictions when lorry deliveries can take place.
Constraints were placed on the store when it was originally built to safeguard local residents from late night noise – but Asda says it wants the option of making deliveries 24 hours a day to cope with peaks in demand from shoppers.
Asda planning spokesman Ben Gibson says in the store’s plans: “Our application proposes to remove ‘condition 14’ from the planning permission to enable Asda to have the opportunity to undertake deliveries 24-hours per day. This flexibility would enable the store to address the difficulties which the current delivery hour restrictions present to the trading of the store.”
“Asda, like most retailers, have seen a heightened demand for products in stores due to increased shopping trips, home deliveries and click and collect orders following the Covid-19 outbreak.”
“As a result of increased demand, the shelves are often seen empty of products, especially fresh produce, prior to the first delivery which can occur from 5am to 9pm Monday Saturday, and 9am-5pm on Sundays. Once deliveries are taken, Asda typically have 1 hour to restock shelves to ensure they are full of high-quality products for visiting customers.”
“In circumstances which the shelves are not fully restocked before the store opens, the trading potential of the store is hindered, and Asda are unable to meet the needs of their customers to the full potential, which is high priority, particularly given the current pandemic situation.”
“The application seeks consent to take deliveries 24-hours per day to enable Asda to operate with increased flexibility to meet the heightened demands for their products and ensure they can meet the needs of their visiting customers to a high standard.”
“Increased flexibility would also enable Asda to fulfil home delivery and click and collect orders for customers who are vulnerable and/or wish to minimise human contact more effectively. 24-hour deliveries would enable Asda to opportunity to pick products for these types of shopping trips during closing hours. Not only does this maximise the products on the shelves for visiting customers and ensures home deliveries and click and collect orders can be fulfilled effectively, this decreases the number of Asda employees on the shopfloor collecting products which improves safety for Asda employees and visiting customers and helps to minimises potential transmission rates of the virus.”
Responding to concerns about potential noise, it adds: “Asda have not received any noise complaints resulting from increased operations at the store [during the past year’s pandemic] and are not aware of any complaints to the Council’s Environmental Health service.”
It adds: “Deliveries will continue to take place in the largely enclosed service yard enclosure towards the eastern side of the Asda store which is accessed through an independent access off Caxton Road, and is screened and located a reasonable distance away from residential properties located to the south and west due to the position of the Asda store.”
“Whilst it is considered that there would be no adverse impact arising from the removal of condition 14 from the planning permission, Asda is committed to ensuring the proposals do not result in any disturbance to local residents.”
Noise-reduction measures from Asda:
Asda says the following ‘mitigation measures’ will be in place for any deliveries made between the hours of midnight and 6am:
- Service yard gates to be open prior to arrival of the delivery vehicle and prior to the lorry departure to that lorries are not required to wait at the gates;
- Drivers turning off the fridge unit prior to arrival at the site and the fridge unit to remain
switched off until the lorry has departed the site;
- No reverse alarms;
- All drivers would be briefed regarding actively reducing noise pollution to maintain good relations with neighbours in particular: Lorry engine to be turned off whilst unloading; Careful unloading to minimise bangs/rattles and void impact between cages and the trailer wall etc; The load restraining bars to be carefully placed on the trailer floor and not dropped.
- On departure drivers should avoid over-revving and seek to accelerate gently until the vehicle is a reasonable distance from the store.
The store concludes: “Overall, the proposed removal of condition 14 would grant Asda with increased flexibility to maximise the trading potential of the store. Not only would this secure substantial economic benefits, but it would also ensure customers have access to a wide range of high-quality products and enhance their quality of life. Importantly, these benefits can be achieved with no adverse impacts to neighbouring amenity or to the surrounding environment resulting from undue noise disturbance.”
One nearby home owner told Burnham-On-Sea.com that some residents living near to the store are worried about the proposals causing extra noise at night despite Asda’s assurances.
The planning application has reference number 11/20/00147 and feedback from residents can be made to Sedgemoor District Council’s planning department.