Supermarket defends late-night deliveries as residents complain about disturbed sleep
A group of south Bristol residents are in fraught talks with Asda Bedminster over what they are calling a "breach of conditions".
By Charley Rogers
The residents are claiming that the supermarket is operating outside of its agreed hours, and causing disturbance with loud deliveries.
According to Tony Gwyther, of Southville, Asda has been "flouting" a condition placed upon them in 2014, which prohibits deliveries to the store between 10pm and 6am.
Tony said: “From day one of this restriction being put in place, it has been broken every night. It disturbs the sleep of the surrounding residents – we get maybe four hours because of the noise.”
The main issue is the noise throughout the night says Tony, which he claims can be any time from 10pm to 6am. This includes “drivers beeping their horns, and leaving engines and refrigerators running” while they make their deliveries to the store.
But Asda claims it is operating within its rights. A spokesperson said: “To help support the local community in Bedminster and manage an increase in online orders from vulnerable customers shielding during the pandemic, the delivery schedule at the store has temporarily changed. These changes are in line with Government guidance to ensure supermarkets can restock and continue to serve customers at the present time.”
Asda is also claiming that the response from residents has been aggressive, with a "campaign of abuse" towards colleagues at the Bedminster store from perturbed residents, including "physical and verbal abuse, threats through social media, and a bombardment of emails and calls to colleagues both at the store and head office".
The supermarket says they have had "multiple discussions" with council members and local parliamentary representatives, all of whom have come to the conclusion that the deliveries are necessary, and measures have been taken to ensure a "minimum of disruption" to residents.
Tony says he and the residents' group he is part of do not condone the aggressive behaviour of these individuals, but that he understands how “thirteen years of frustration” could have led to such outbursts. He said: “We heard about those incidents, and those people aren’t part of the group anymore.
“But when you understand the toll that continued lack of sleep has on people, you can almost understand how they get to that point, as unacceptable as it is.”
The continued noise “has to stop,” Tony says. He adds that daily emails have been sent to Asda outlining the residents' concerns. Tony argues the volume of emails sent is a reflection of the "abuse" they feel they have suffered over the years.
He said: “We’re trying to get Asda to understand the impact they’re having and make the reality of the situation clear. Surely it’s our human right to get a good night’s sleep, and they’re preventing that.”
Bristol City Council is currently investigating the complaints. A spokesperson said: “An investigation of reports of night-time deliveries last December found there had been a breach of the conditions prohibiting deliveries to and from this store between 10pm and 6am. However, with government advice that a flexible approach should be adopted towards enforcing planning controls on deliveries to retail premises during the pandemic, this enforcement case was subsequently closed.
“Since further complaints have been received in early April a new case has been opened to reconsider this matter, with our planning enforcement team investigating and updating the parties involved as to progress.’’