Outcry over dawn delivery request

PUBLISHED: 15:07 07 April 2015

Asda Highbridge.

Asda Highbridge.

Archant

EARLY-MORNING plans for lorries to deliver to a Highbridge supermarket from 5am have been attacked by frustrated residents and councillors.

The town’s branch of Asda, in Caxton Drive, has applied to allow deliveries to the store two hours earlier than its current start time of 7am from Monday to Saturday.

An Asda spokesman said receiving deliveries when the store is busy ‘leads to conflict between staff stocking shelves and customers’ and that existing restrictions result in ‘a lack of customer choice’.

Burnham and Highbridge Town Council branded the plans ‘unfair’ on residents and recommended they be refused when they go forward to Sedgemoor District Council’s planning committee, where they could be assessed during its next development committee meeting on April 21.

Resident John Belhomme, who lives in a street bordering the Caxton Road site, complained to the council that the plans could affect his family’s quality of life, and questioned whether traffic levels in the town warranted the application.

He said: “My wife is already worrying herself sick at the thought of Asda’s huge vehicles coming along from 5-6am. There is no way of sleeping through that.

“Approaching the Asda roundabout, you might get anything from eight to 12 cars approaching and these may take a few minutes to clear, but nothing worse than that.

“If they are saying they need to come from 5am to beat the rush-hour traffic, I would say this is misleading – to put it lightly. This change will really affect our health and quality of life.”

Town councillors spoke out in defence of their constituents and voted to recommend refusal to the plans, with planning committee chairman Pat Burge expressing her concern about the area’s young families.

Cllr Burge told the Mercury: “Allowing the increased delivery hours would be unfair on the residents in that area, because they are very close to the site and there will be a lot of noise. Surely they would be using forklifts?

“There are a lot of young families on that estate. It would be waking children up early and it’s just too many hours.

“We had an agreement with the supermarket from when it opened about when it could open, which we want to stick to.”

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