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What are the current planning restrictions on supermarkets, food retailers and distribution centres concerning deliveries?

On 13 March 2020 the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government issued a Written Statement in respect of delivery restrictions.

In this respect, many supermarkets, food retailers and distribution centres in England operate under planning restrictions (conditions and/or obligations) which limit the time and number of deliveries from lorries and other delivery vehicles which can take place particularly at night primarily to protect the residential amenity of nearby residential property.

Key points in the Statement include;

  • Given the exceptional challenges facing the UK from the coronavirus, it is vital that deliveries of food, sanitary and other essential products over the coming weeks can be made as quickly and safely as possible, minimising disruption to the supply chains. The likely pressures on driver capacity mean additional flexibility is needed so that retailers can accept deliveries throughout the day and night where necessary.
  • That planning enforcement is discretionary and that local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.
  • That local planning authorities should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting deliveries of food and other essential deliveries during this period having regard to their legal obligations.

The Statement acknowledges that the increased frequency of deliveries particularly at night could have a temporary impact on residents. It therefore concludes that the Government will review the need for the flexibility outlined in the Statement after the pressure from the coronavirus has reduced and that it is the intention to withdraw it once the immediate urgency has subsided.

A link to the Written Statement is below.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-03-13/HCWS159/