Yate estate lorry ban scrapped despite more than 200 objections

COUNCILLORS have scrapped a ban on HGVs using narrow residential roads at Yate’s new Ladden Garden Village neighbourhood 24 hours a day, despite more than 200 objections from residents.

South Gloucestershire Council’s spatial planning committee overturned a decision by a lower committee that would have kept restrictions on the times lorries and large delivery vans can drive through the development of more than 2,000 homes.

In April the authority’s strategic sites delivery committee rejected a request from developers to remove a planning condition which says HGVs can only use roads on the estate from 7.30am to 6pm on weekdays and 8pm to 2pm on Saturdays, and never on Sunday or public holidays.

Because that went against officers’ advice to approve the application, it went up to the council’s top planning committee for the final say, and that has now thrown out the decision.

Although it opens the prospect of lorry movements around the clock, another condition means every new company that moves into a unit will have to get its delivery times and types of vehicle signed off by council officers.

Principal planning officer Charmian Eyre-Walker told the committee in May that this gave the local authority the control to assess any impact on residents and to spread HGV movements over a 24-hour period, so they were not concentrated at any one time.

Restrictions ‘deterring’ firms from moving in

She said the timing restrictions on large vehicles, introduced by councillors last summer when they granted permission to allow more general industry because no businesses wanted to rent out the existing office space, were deterring more firms from moving in, such as those needing deliveries at night.

Ms Eyre-Walker said they also applied to all HGVs which were defined as over 3.5 tonnes and included “low-loaders, flatbeds and supermarket and other delivery vehicles” such as Amazon and Ocado.

She said the planning condition should be removed because it was not necessary or relevant as the 2023 change-of-use consent for more general industry would result in fewer vehicles, and that it was also unenforceable and unreasonable.

But Yate North ward Lib Dem Cllr Chris Willmore, who backed objections from 210 neighbours and the town council, told the meeting: “This isn’t about the small delivery vans under seven tonnes, it’s about HGVs, the big stuff.

“It doesn’t affect Amazon, Ocado or any of the other firms that deliver to our homes in vehicles of various sizes, this is solely about which vehicles go to and from the employment land.

“And it doesn’t even affect that on daytimes or Saturday mornings, it’s about what happens on evenings and weekends.”

She said that although the developers claimed the condition had put off businesses from moving into the units, she had spoken to a “significant employer” who wanted to set up a base there.

Lorry lights will shine ‘straight into people’s houses’ at night

Cllr Willmore said: “We’ve got three major employers who have tried to locate to this site and don’t find this condition restrictive.”

She said lorries were forced onto the wrong side of the road because of 90-degree turns on the residential roads.

“HGVs’ lights at night will be straight into people’s houses,” Cllr Willmore said.

“The residents are deeply worried about HGVs coming along the narrow roads past their bedroom windows.”

Restrictions are ‘not lawful’ – developer

Applicants BDW Trading’s planning agent Rachel Robinson said the condition limiting HGV times was “not lawful” because it did not meet the required tests under national planning policy.

She said it was added by councillors last year despite “clear and undisputed evidence” that the change in use from light to more general industry would result in fewer HGVs and other vehicles, so it was “illogical”.

Cllr John Bradbury (Labour, Bradley Stoke South) said he was reasonably satisfied that the condition could be removed while the other condition requiring approval of delivery times and vehicles by the council would remain in place and protect residents adequately.

Cllr Paul Hughes (Conservative, Bitton & Oldland Common) said: “If the committee turns this down, it will go to appeal undoubtedly.”

Members voted 6-0 in favour of scrapping the restrictions, with one abstention.

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service