Aldi wants greater flexibility in delivery hours. On Sundays and bank holidays, it is permitted deliveries for six hours from 8am and 4pm. It wants these hours more than doubled to allow deliveries between 7am to 10pm. The application comes with a detailed noise assessment for the store area but this takes no account of noise created as delivery vehicles arrive and depart along Gravel Hill and Henley Road. I don’t think residents should be disturbed by 7am deliveries on Sundays when the store doesn’t open until 10am. Aldi is seeking to extend delivery hours at several of its stores. But Tesco’s delivery hours in Ludlow on Sundays and bank holidays have been 9am to 4pm since 2013. If Tesco can thrive with those hours, so can Aldi.
There has been a suggestion that Aldi and Tesco use a different route for deliveries into Ludlow rather than along Gravel Hill. I would welcome views on that.
The Aldi store was approved in May 2008 (1/08/20420/F). A planning condition restricted arrival and departure of delivery vehicles to between 6.30am and 10.30pm on weekdays and between 10am and 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays. In 2010, Aldi applied for permission for deliveries on Sundays from 8am instead of 10am to enable fresh produce to be brought into the store before it opens (10/01834/VAR). The application was submitted after complaints from a resident triggered an enforcement investigation.
Ludlow Town Council objected saying “an 8am start on a Sunday is unreasonable”. A resident on Quarry Gardens complained that deliveries were already arriving at 6.30am on Sundays and bank holidays: “The noise from the trolleys and lorries is awful and bounces off surrounding buildings.” Another resident said: “I live on Gravel Hill and delivery vans thunder past during the day. What concerns me is that they may be considering changing to evening or night time deliveries. If this is the case then I object. Heavy traffic and noise during the day is appalling.” WF Kerswell of Picklescott – you might recognise his name from his frequent letters to the Shropshire Star – approved of the proposal. The planning committee took the same view and the extension to delivery times was approved.
The current application (19/04674/VAR) has been submitted, to “increase operational flexibility”. It comes at the same time as Aldi has applied to extend delivery hours at its Ledbury store. An online search suggests Aldi has submitted several extended hours applications elsewhere in the country.
Aldi wants to increase the earliest permitted delivery times in Ludlow on Sundays and bank holidays to 7am. It is currently 8am. Deliveries will be allowed up to 10pm, instead of the current 4pm. That gives a delivery range of 13 hours instead of six. The application says that there is usually only one delivery a day.
Aldi says: “The extended delivery hours will not have a significant impact in terms of noise and will not impact on existing nearby residents of the store.” A noise assessment study has been submitted to back up this claim. It says that deliveries cause only a small rise in noise against background levels. The noise at Quarry Gardens and Betjeman Lodge from all sources and deliveries will be significantly below World Health Organisation guidelines.
What the application does not address is disturbance from Aldi trucks arriving and departing along Ludlow’s narrow streets. Trucks arriving and leaving even earlier on a Sunday morning will not be welcomed.
Aldi’s vehicles arrive from the south, I guess from St Mellons in Cardiff. They cannot use Sheet Road because of the railway bridge. Instead, the trucks travel north on the A49 to the Rocks Green roundabout, then down Henley Road, Gravel Hill and Station Road.
In recent meetings, Ludlow’s local transport forum, In and Out of Ludlow, has discussed asking the Tesco and Aldi to reroute its delivery vehicles to avoid the One Stop mini-roundabout and Gravel Hill. No conclusion has been reached but one option suggested is to ask the supermarkets to route their vehicles down Bromfield Road. This would require the vehicles turning right on the A49. I think that could be hazard. It would also increase noise on Henley Road and Corve Street. But it would alleviate noise along Gravel Hill. There are benefits and disbenefits to this idea and I would welcome views.