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19th September 2019

Noise from food delivery vehicles in certain congested parts of cities across the UK are having significant impacts on the living conditions experienced by local residents. The noise issues resulting mainly from mopeds, scooters and motorcycles which are used in deliveries when waiting for orders from restaurants to be prepared, before they can leave. In addition, they can often park inappropriately and may cause congestion/highway safety issues outside the restaurant. This coupled with the general desire for more people to live in City Centres can often create real problems for both local planning authorities and restaurant operators.

Westminster City Council have taken the view that where restaurants are providing large numbers of deliveries through delivery apps etc, to the point where deliveries were no longer a secondary use, they will have to apply for planning permission.

Indeed, in one example Westminster City Council took planning enforcement action against a restaurant in Central London, following complaints received by residents regarding noise and disturbance from delivery drivers. Council officers had previously observed large numbers of mopeds parking inappropriately, making noise and causing congestion outside the restaurant. The Council commenced enforcement proceedings to stop the deliveries taking place.

However, the use of mopeds and scooters in City Centres in particular is an ideal way to avoid congestion and enable orders to be delivered quickly, which by their very nature need to arrive hot for the customer.

A recent case in west London, where a pizza outlet was prevented from delivering takeaways by motor vehicle has overcome this constraint by some imaginative thinking.

At appeal the inspector noted that the condition in dispute did not prevent deliveries from taking place from the premises but restricted the use of motor vehicles, which were defined to include motorcycles, mopeds and motor scooters. The appellants sought to use Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) only.

The inspector did not agree with the council’s contention that the vehicles would be likely to park on the public highway as there were numerous cycle stands in the vicinity. However, more importantly, the Inspector found no evidence to suggest that the form of transport proposed, including the likely number of EAPC’s operating at any one time, would prejudice the free flow of traffic and public safety, nor would it result in noise disturbance to local residents.

There was no evidence why this form of transport would be unacceptable compared with other non-motorised forms of vehicles, such as pedal cycles, which were not prohibited under the terms of the existing condition.

Therefore, if restaurant operators are having problems with their local planning authority in terms of noise disturbance from deliveries, the use of electrically assisted pedal cycles could be one way to address such problems.

Caulmert’s planners have been providing professional planning advice to a number of restaurant operators across the UK for many years, and we would be happy to discuss your requirements further.

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