Casebook: Appeal Cases - Retail Development - Extended opening and delivery hours turned down

An appeal to vary planning conditions on opening hours and delivery periods at a Tesco Express convenience store in Essex has been refused, with an inspector finding that it would have a harmful effect on the living conditions of neighbours due to noise and disturbance.

The operator sought to extend opening hours by two hours, allowing trading from 6am till midnight, and to extend delivery periods by seven hours, allowing deliveries from 7am to 11pm. The inspector remarked that the outlet had attracted criticism from adjoining residents since it opened, particularly over delivery vehicles visiting the site in the early hours of the morning.

He found the appellant company's intention to offer customers the freshest produce throughout the day laudable. However, he held that its commercial and operational aspirations must be balanced against the legitimate expectations of the store's neighbours to peace and quiet at the end of the day and during the early morning hours.

The inspector felt that the key question was whether the relaxation sought would have a harmful effect on the occupiers of a property sited in very close proximity to the store's service area. It was clear that people sleeping in the first-floor rooms would be very vulnerable to noise emanating from the store, he held. He judged that relaxing the conditions would prolong disturbance to the occupants at times when they had a legitimate expectation of quiet.

DCS No: 34525436; Inspector: Michael Aldous; Hearing.

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