Asda Highbridge

Town councillors have objected against plans by Asda in Higbridge to introduce 24-hour deliveries amid concerns about late noise.

The supermarket in Caxton Road, Highbridge has applied for a ‘variation of hours conditions’ to allow 24-hour deliveries, as first reported here.

At the latest Town Council planning applications committee meeting, councillors voted to object against the plans on the grounds that the original delivery times were in place to protect local residents.

Restrictions 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 Highbridge

“Since we first considered these plans we have received many letters from nearby residents who are all opposed to the plans,” said Cllr Andy Brewer.

Cllr Nick Tolley added: “Lorries like these are large sizable objects. At 3 or 4am in the morning when the world is silent they still have reversing alarms that can’t be switched off, they have to open big metal doors to move big pallets. I feel we should object.”

Cllr Sue Harvey added: “I agree entirely. Restrictions were put there for a reason – to protect residents. I think we should stick with our objection.”

Cllr Peter Clayton added: “I agree too.”

Cllr Brewer concluded: “We do live in a changing world, but I think everyone is entitled to a good night’s sleep. On that basis we will maintain our objection to the application.”

Asda planning spokesman Ben Gibson says in the 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 Highbridge

“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.”

Asda Highbridge

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 planning application has reference number 11/20/00147 and feedback from residents can be made to Sedgemoor District Council’s planning department. The latest objection comes despite clarifications about the plans from Asda.

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