Asda submits plans to restore 24/7 deliveries to its Biggleswade store

Councillor warns move could cause “light and noise pollution” for residents
Scenesetter of Asda car park, Biggleswade.Scenesetter of Asda car park, Biggleswade.
Scenesetter of Asda car park, Biggleswade.

A supermarket chain is applying to resume 24/7 goods deliveries to its store in Biggleswade, with the threat of “light and noise pollution” for nearby residents, a local councillor is warning.

Asda Stores Limited has submitted an application to Central Bedfordshire Council to remove a current planning condition restricting its delivery times.

The firm is seeking to vary one of the original appeal conditions attached to its Church Street supermarket development plans, including store serving and access arrangements, “to extend the servicing hours”.

During the pandemic, the government relaxed the enforcement of the delivery restrictions allowing deliveries 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to CBC’s deputy leader and Independent Biggleswade West councillor Hayley Whitaker.

“I know this caused plenty of disturbance for people living in homes near the supermarket because of noise created from the loading area,” she explained in a social media post.

“This relaxation (of the rules) ended on January 31st 2022. But ASDA now wants to resume 24/7 deliveries, claiming it’s essential as people now shop differently and the supply chain remains fragile.

“The company also says it’s important to make sure that fresh items are in stock for early morning shoppers. I’d be interested to know if anyone found this to be an issue pre-2020.”

Councillor Whitaker added it would be useful to understand residents’ views “to comment accordingly and call in the application to CBC’s planning committee, if people wish”.

The relevant planning condition states: “No goods deliveries shall be taken at or despatched from the site outside the hours of 7am to 9pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 9am to 6pm on Sundays or public holidays.”

In an accompanying letter from estate and lettings agents Savills, it said: “Asda operates about 650 stores across the UK, with around 165,000 employees across its stores, logistics, industrial and administration businesses.

“The business currently serves 18m customers on a weekly basis, including more than 700,000 home deliveries, representing a marked increase since the pandemic and resulting in a strain on the company’s supply chain.

“In response to the pandemic, the government temporarily lifted restrictions on overnight servicing in an effort to enable retailers to keep stores stocked and fully operational to cope with the increased demand.

“This application is required to allow Asda to continue to effectively serve the residents of Biggleswade.”

The supermarket caused a stir in the town previously when opting to reduce the parking time at its store from two hours to one-and-a-half, despite the town council arguing the move would damage the local economy.

The application is set to be considered at a future meeting of CBC’s development management committee having been called in by councillor Whitaker.

She refers to “light and noise pollution affecting nearby homes and residents” on the call-in form.