Asda applied for permission in November to remove a previous planning condition restricting delivery times at its store in Lichfield Road, Cannock.
Currently deliveries to and from the site are only allowed between 7.30am and 9pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sundays. But the retail giant wanted to enable deliveries 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The application was due to be considered by Cannock Chase Council’s planning committee on Wednesday. It had been recommended for refusal by council officers.
A report to Wednesday’s meeting said: “The proposed 24 hour operation, including deliveries and activity on the car park, would have a detrimental impact on residential amenity of residents within the adjacent dwellings and residential area, by reason of noise disturbance during unsociable hours.”
But on Monday, an email was received from the applicant’s agent asking for the application to be withdrawn so that additional survey work could be prepared.
An update to Wednesday’s meeting stated: “The application has since been closed with immediate effect and as such requires no further decision to be made at planning committee.”
In April Cannock Chase Council allowed the Asda store to open for longer to customers on Bank Holidays, following two earlier permissions to extend business and car park hours. The store is now able to open to customers 7am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm on Sundays and 10am to 6pm on bank and public holidays.
The council’s environmental health department raised strong objections to the latest proposals to extend delivery times however.
The planning committee report said: “The site is in close proximity to residential premises, and disturbance associated with 24 hour operation, including deliveries and activity on the car park, have the potential to disturb local residents at night thereby prejudicing their enjoyment of their properties. This reflects comments made by local residents to existing permitted hours.
“Furthermore, 24 hour operation of the car park has the strong potential to attract anti social behaviour.”
Cannock Chase Council also received 17 objections from residents to the latest application.
One said: “I get woken most mornings 6.30 – 7am by delivery drivers waiting to deliver goods, sometimes having to go out to ask to turn engine off or the radio down.”
“At night little noise travels a long way. I suffer with sleep apnoea and have a machine to assist sleep, extra disturbance through the night will make my quality of life even more unbearable with all the other illnesses I already have. I live in a bungalow in a quiet close – this will be destroyed if Asda deliver 24 hours a day.
“Lorries park outside my bedroom, so at night with engines and heaters running to keep warm as temperatures drop at night outside my bedroom is not fair. This is a housing estate, not an industrial estate.”
Another said: “I suffer from several health conditions and know that this would restrict the use of my garden further.
“When deliveries arrive in the daytime the noise and pollution from the vehicles pulling into and out of the loading/ unloading bay cause me to have to leave my garden as I struggle with breathing from the fumes given off and the constant hum/ engine noise gives me frequent headaches. I am unable to hang my washing out to dry at these times also due to the smell/ residue it leaves on my washing.”
But Asda has said the change is needed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A supporting statement submitted to the council said: “Like most retailers, we have seen a heightened demand for products in our stores. To ensure our stores are able to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak as best they can, we are continuing to work closely with our suppliers and take every step possible to ensure our products are delivered and on shelves at the earliest opportunity.
“As you will be aware, Government measures announced earlier this year will help stores continue to serve the local community. These measures will contribute to ensuring everything possible is being done to keep the shelves stocked by relaxing delivery restrictions.
“We will be ensuring our stores are responding appropriately with replenished stock to serve the local community and may need to take deliveries outside of existing permitted hours. If this is the case, we will endeavour to keep noise to a minimum and follow best practice for our delivery management process.
“Flexibility of deliveries will help with the availability of products (i.e. avoiding substitutions) for our stores, home delivery and Click & Collect orders. We want to ensure our customers are able to have the items they require when shopping with us.
“In addition, the flexibility will also ensure items can be stocked safely on the shop floor. Additional time allows colleagues to fill the shelves or online orders prior to customers shopping in store, thereby maintaining safe distancing for both.”