Waitrose supermarket in Formby is seeking to extend delivery hours after a surge in demand for home deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The store, on Three Tuns Lane, is currently allowed to accept wagons between 6am and 11am each day.
Waitrose bosses now want to extend that to 5am-1am, with home deliveries being extended from 7am-9pm to 7am-10pm.
A number of local residents are objecting to the proposals,saying the extended delivery hours in the middle of a residential area will damage their quality of life.
A decision will be made at the Sefton Council Planning Committee today (Wednesday 17 March).
The council’s planning department is urging councillors to approve the plans, saying: “As the store is existing, the main issues to consider are the impact of the amended hours on the living conditions of neighbouring properties and highway safety. On balance, it is recommended that temporary planning permission be allowed for a period of 12 months. This will give the store greater flexibility to assist with the home delivery service, whilst maintaining control over the extended delivery hours.”
The application has been submitted on behalf of Waitrose by Firstplan in London.
They said: “It is proposed that a single delivery by a HGV be permitted in any one-hour period between the hours of 5am and 1am each day.
“It is not proposed to increase the number of HGV deliveries to the store across the day, but simply to increase the available window within which they can operate.
“Whilst Waitrose is seeking to expand the current HGV delivery hours at the store, the application is primarily intended to allow Waitrose to expand their existing home delivery service (Waitrose.com) from the store. Accordingly, the home delivery service window is to be extended by one hour on a Sunday to allow a window of 7am-10pm each day.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated demand for supermarket home deliveries and other online facilities (such as Click & Collect).
“Waitrose expects this demand to increase beyond the current health crisis and, as part of a significant and long planned financial investment, intends to enhance the online services offered at its Formby store.
“This will allow more customers to benefit from home deliveries, whilst increasing stock flow through the business to ensure home delivery orders can be fulfilled.
“Whilst the trend towards online shopping is set to continue in the future, Waitrose’s physical stores will remain the core of their business, and it is essential that they can adapt and evolve to meet changing customer needs.
“The current application will help to enhance and diversify the operational management of the store by ensuring it remains fully stocked throughout the day and able to meet the needs of visiting shoppers. This will allow the store to continue performing its important role in anchoring and supporting the vitality and viability of Formby town centre.”
A number of local residents have submitted their objections, with Formby councillor Nina Killen also raising her concerns.
She wrote: “A number of concerns have been raised with me as the ward councillor.
“Residents living nearby are already disturbed and woken up by early morning and night time deliveries. Residents tell me lorries arrive and keep engines and refrigerated units running even before 6am.
“I understand this application is to have one delivery between the hours of 11pm and 1am but not to allow earlier deliveries than 6am. But the later deliveries could be just as disruptive and impactful as earlier deliveries, disrupting sleep which can cause major problems for physical and mental health.
“I appreciate there is an economic benefit to Waitrose, and by extension the local area, but this should be balanced against residents’ quality of life.
“This is a residential area and this should be paramount in any decision made. Residents have been very clear that they believe later deliveries would be highly disruptive to their lives.”