Residents try to stop lorries from delivering to new Aldi store from 7am
A NEW Aldi planned for Yate could have its delivery hours extended by 15 hours a week before it even opens.
But the decision is on hold because the neighbours say they already suffer from noisy deliveries to the building in Station Road (above), which is currently occupied by B&Q.
South Gloucestershire Council approved plans in February which would see the budget supermarket move into half of the B&Q building, leaving the DIY store to trade from reduced space.
To prevent residents being disturbed at unsociable hours, deliveries were restricted to the hours between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.
But Harmsworth Pension Funds Trustees, which owns the building, has since applied to extend the hours, saying it would mean Aldi would have fresh produce when it opens at 7am and would allow the store to “trade viably”, a planning meeting heard.
It originally asked for delivery hours of 7am to 11pm, every day of the week, but council officers thought these were “unacceptable”.
So Harmsworth agreed instead to apply for 7am to 9.30pm, Mondays to Saturdays, keeping Sunday deliveries to 8am to 8pm, hours which officers thought were “reasonable”.
A planning officer who recommended the application for approval said a noise assessment led officers to conclude that “the delivery hours wouldn’t result in unacceptable living conditions and there wouldn’t be significant harm”.
But the town council and six residents opposed the application, saying the noise from deliveries to B&Q was already “significant” and would be “a lot worse” when it included refrigerated food lorries.
Yate Town Council wrote in its objection: “It is unacceptable to extend the hours during which residents will have this noise, within feet of their bedroom windows. They will be woken at 7am and be disturbed by noise until 11pm.”
Gary Whittington, who lives next to B&Q’s delivery yard, said he is already disturbed by “articulated lorries reversing, forklift trucks being used to unload materials”.
“You cannot have your windows open through the spring and summer,” he said. “In fact, we’ve had to move out of the main master bedroom because of the noise from B&Q. That cannot be reasonable in anybody’s life.”
Mr Whittington (above) said lorries arrive anywhere from 6.30am, waiting for the gates to the yard to open at 7am, and that the drivers keep their engines idling in winter to keep their cabs warm.
The delivery hours at the existing B&Q store are currently unrestricted, the meeting heard.
A 3.5m brick noise barrier surrounds the yard, but it gives way to fencing in places, the planning officer said.
Yate North councillor Mike Drew told the planning committee Harmsworth should “stick to” the hours agreed in the planning permission granted earlier this year.
An agent for the company spoke at the planning meeting on Thursday October 28, but he was inaudible on the council’s webcast, as was an address by town councillor Chris Willmore.
The nine-strong planning committee voted unanimously to defer their decision, after a vote to refuse the application fell.
Members agreed to visit the site to get a better understanding of how close residents’ homes are to the delivery yard and “what they have to put up with”.
Whatever the decision, the new delivery hours will not take effect until Aldi moves into the building.
Harmsworth originally applied for Aldi and a discount variety retailer to take over the entire B&Q store.
The scheme would have seen B&Q leave the site, but it was rejected amid concerns from Yate Town Council that the DIY store’s closure would cause “loss of diversity within the town centre”.
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service