Tesco Stores Ltd wants to extend its delivery hours at the Broughton Road store by two hours on a Sunday morning (Ref 18/00667/FUL). 

Delivery hours here are currently controlled under the terms of Tesco’s earlier planning permssion (Ref. 09/00039/FUL) which restricts them to 7.30am–8pm (Mon.–Sat.), and 12pm–6pm (Sun.). The new Sunday start-time would be 10am. 

Why the change?

Tesco explains the reason behind their application as follows:

On the basis that it currently takes approximately 1 hour to unload a full lorry, and up to two hours to move this stock onto the shop floor, the existing delivery arrangements mean that the store manager often experiences problems in meeting the customer demand for fresh produce, especially on Sunday’s [sic], where receiving a delivery at 1200 at the earliest means that the store cannot realistically be stocked until 3pm (after the store opening at 0900). … The proposed extended Sunday delivery hours will allow Tesco to bring their deliveries of fresh produce to the store earlier in the morning, meaning that the store will be stocked during peak Sunday trading hours.

Tesco goes on to say that the current arrangement inconveniences the manager, puts pressure on staff, and means that fewer of them are available to serve customers.

New scheme has familiar ring

Tesco last tried to extend its Sunday delivery hours here in 2014 (Ref. 14/01866/FUL; Breaking news, 21.5.14): to 7am–9pm (Fri–Sat), and 9am–6pm (Sun). That application (which drew objections from eight residents, a local councillor and MSP) was refused on the grounds that it was ‘contrary to Edinburgh City Local Plan Policy Hou 8 in respect of Inappropriate Uses in Residential Areas, as the proposed extended hours has the potential for a negative impact on residential amenity’ (Breaking news, 11.7.14)

Tesco now claims its latest application would have no such impact. At 10am there would be no need for floodlighting, and the Noise Impact Assessment that it has commissioned claims that the earlier delivery could be made ‘without any associated noise which would have an adverse impact on local residents’.

Tesco also proposes to adopt a ‘formal Service Yard Noise Management Plan (SYNMP)’ for locals’ added peace of mind.

Local concerns

Nevertheless, there is disquiet among nearby residents along Broughton Road, Logie Green Road and Boat Green.

Those we have spoken to say:

  • All deliveries here to Tesco cause some degree of disturbance to locals. The latest proposal would disrupt them 2 hours earlier on a Sunday, the one day of the week when they can currently enjoy some peace and quiet in the morning. A lorry waiting in Logie Green Road to enter the yard, with its engine chugging away and producing clouds of exhaust, would be earlier still. All this would cause a qualitative worsening of residential amenity.
  • Although Tesco does not currently propose using the extended Sunday hours to bring in a greater number of deliveries, there is nothing to stop them doing so in future. This would be a quantitative worsening of residential amenity.
  • Measures in the SYNMP are potentially unenforceable.

They want the new proposal to be rejected for the same reason given in 2014.

Why all the fuss?

Spurtle believes there is no reason to change the Sunday delivery hours.

As in 2014, pressure on Tesco employees, and the quality of customer service, could in this case, easily be addressed by simply  hiring more staff.

Since the store can, as Tesco asserts, realistically be restocked by 3pm, there remain a full 7 hours left in the trading day for shoppers to find what they’re looking for.

So, if Tesco were to just improve how it informs its customers about when the shelves will be refilled on a Sunday, then peak shopping hours would surely adjust accordingly.

Anyone wishing to comment for or against Tesco’s proposal may do so online here by 14 March. 

[The photos of empty shelves here are for illustrative purposes only. They were taken today after three days of snow-related logistical disruption.]

7 Broughton Road