Major concerns have been raised about the effects of a bid to start deliveries at a Morpeth supermarket two hours earlier in the morning on children living nearby.
Since the town’s new Morrisons store opened in 2013, residents in Staithes Lane have been dealing with delivery lorries going down the lane between 7am and 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 9am to 10pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Now the company has applied to amend this condition to make the delivery window run from 5am to 11pm.
It says this will help ensure vehicles can be unloaded in an efficient manner as opposed to unloading several vehicles at a time and prevent congestion of vehicles in and around the yard.
Another ‘positive’ would be that fresh produce arrives, is unloaded and made available for purchase prior to the store opening.
But strong objections have been lodged by Staithes Lane residents, including Barry and Jenny Lehane who have three children ranging in age from three to 12.
Their response includes the following: ‘The current delivery vehicles create vibrations and noise disturbance to our property, which impact greatly on our family’s quality of life.
‘At present, our children are unable to get to sleep until deliveries have ceased and the lower level car park has closed.
‘Our children’s right to a suitable night’s sleep has to be greater than Morrisons’ desire to have deliveries to its store at 5am.
‘As it stands, the nine hours of relative peace is insufficient to meet their needs, but decreasing this time by a further two hours is wholly unacceptable.’
Fellow resident Marcus Hopper said in his objection: ‘Our bedroom windows are just 10 metres from the highway and 30 metres from the unloading bay and the noise level is already detrimental to our health.
‘Noise travels further in the dead of night and 5am is the dead of night.’
The application by Morrisons comes after it was successful in its appeal last year to remove the time restrictions for staff on parking in the lower level car park opposite Staithes Lane.
It believes the extra hours for deliveries are important for the Morpeth store and they would not have major implications for Staithes Lane residents.
The design and access statement, put together by Peacock & Smith Ltd, states: ‘The proposal would improve the efficiency of deliveries to the store and reduce the journey times and fuel consumption by delivering outside peak traffic periods.
‘This will lead to positive economic benefits and should therefore be afforded significant weight.
‘In terms of impact on residential amenity, the main area of potential disturbance would relate to the service yard. The nearest residential properties are a distance from the service yard that already has a brick built service yard wall, which has an acoustic property.
‘It is not considered that the proposed development would have any impact on any residential property. Set against this, the proposal is consistent with national planning policy contained in the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance (Noise) and the Noise Policy Statement England.’
However, Morpeth Town Council said in its response that the condition should not be altered because it was included in the appeal decision and it is not aware of any changes to the planning practice guidance since then.