TESCO has been refused permission to take 24-hour deliveries at its Henley store
TESCO has been refused permission to take 24-hour deliveries at its Henley store.
South Oxfordshire District Council has turned down the company?s request amid fears that lorries would disturb residents at night.
Tesco wanted the authority to scrap a planning condition that limits deliveries to the supermarket off Reading Road to between 6am and 11pm.
It said the restriction, imposed when the store was given planning permission in 1993, limited the availability of fresh produce to home shopping customers.
Henley Town Council opposed the move as did Oxfordshire County Council?s highways engineers, civic group the Henley Society, four residents and the district council?s own environmental health officer.
After concerns were raised about its application, Tesco commissioned a sound report which said that noise from the site during the day fell within national guidelines for people indoors.
Sharps Redmore, which carried out the survey, said lorry drivers would have to switch off their engines and radios when they arrived at the store at night. All staff would be told to work quietly and not carry out non-essential tasks.
The report said: ?In the competitive market that superstores operate, Tesco requires more time to get the goods from the store?s warehouse area on to the shop floor to meet customer demand for [perishables] and generally replenish stock, especially first thing in the morning.
?Removing the condition would give Tesco flexibility in servicing the store and enhance customer satisfaction.
?The assessment has objectively demonstrated... that predicted noise levels from delivery activity would not adversely affect residential amenity between the current restricted hours.?
Objector Marcus Binning, who lives behind the store in Mill Lane, said: ?I am not aware of any significant changes in the laws of physics so can see no reason that this should be approved when previously noise and disturbance to residents were deemed of sufficient import to result in the current restrictions.
?Are the good people of Henley to be subjected to endless nocturnal noise just so Tesco can increase its grip on the local economy?
?How long before Waitrose and others follow suit, claiming they cannot compete, until Henley is a fully developed 24-hour economic hub??
Environmental health officer Claire Spendley said the company?s noise report was ?misleading? as people might have their windows open in the summer and this would increase the impact of noise from delivery lorries.
She suggested allowing a 12-month trial as a compromise but the council?s planning committee unanimously rejected the application.
Committee member and Henley Deputy Mayor Jeni Wood said: ?We don?t want more lorries coming though Henley at all and certainly not at night. It is a town of narrow roads with houses on either side so it would have been unfair to allow it. We?re not a big city where that kind of thing is normal.
?There was no good case for lifting the restriction as the only thing that has changed since it was imposed is that traffic has increased significantly.
?Tesco seems to be working fine and if it needs help delivering fresh food around the clock it should have a separate depot.?
Town and county councillor David Nimmo Smith said: ?I?m pleased the committee saw sense.
?I wasn?t concerned about deliveries at the site, it was more the lorries passing though the town centre or even villages like Shiplake in the early hours. It could have affected people?s sleep as badly as aircraft noise.?
Henley Mayor Martin Akehurst, chairman of the town council?s traffic advisory committee, said: ?We?re sympathetic to the fact that Tesco has to run a business but large lorries passing through at night would have caused problems for residents.?
Tesco said it was ?disappointed? with the decision and would review its options.