Tesco is cutting opening hours at its Express store in Baildon after a campaign to enforce planning rules.
The popular Otley Road store was permitted by Bradford Council planners on the basis it would trade between 7am and 11pm.
But in July last year customers were suddenly being welcomed from 6am, said Councillor Debbie Davies (Con, Baildon). “They got permission for the store three years ago and local residents were delighted at the arrival of such a convenient store,” she said.
“However in July, Tesco began trading from 6am – which meant delivery lorries arriving in the very early hours of the morning.
“And I began getting complaints from householders upset by the dawn racket.”
She contacted Bradford Council’s planning enforcement team last August who wrote to Tesco asking for the original opening times to be re-instated.
Coun Davies said: “They also gave them the option to put in a new application to open at 6am, which would probably have been granted.
“However Tesco did not see fit to reply to the Council, and whenever I asked for an update, the attitude was ‘we’ll give them a few more weeks.
“I found it bizarre that Tesco were allowed to keep breaking the rules, when I’m sure if it were a small independent trader the council would’ve been down on them straight away.”
Bradford Council planning manager Ian Horsfall said: “We have written to Tesco pointing out they are in breach of their planning condition at their Express store in Otley Road, Baildon, and asking them to either open at the authorised time or make an application to vary their permitted hours of working. To date no such planning application has been submitted. Given the location of the store, on a major road through the district, we would be minded to grant permission for them to open from 6am. Therefore it would not be expedient to instigate enforcement action against them.”
But after requests for a comment from the Telegraph & Argus, Tesco announced it would obey the terms of planning consent and would also investigate how the confusion had arisen.
“We are investigating how this has happened and will be contacting the Council to discuss the best way forward,” a Tesco spokesman said.
“In the meantime, we’ll ensure the store reverts to its original opening hours of 7am to 11pm.”
Councillor Davies thanked the T&A, saying: “It seems the fear of negative publicity in the local paper is still a powerful force, although it does make the Council look a bit fluffy.”