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Council Reacts To Complaints Following Aldi Opening

Published on: 10 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 13 Nov, 2015

Aldi logoGuildford Borough Council (GBC)  are investigating claims that the new Aldi store at Burpham is breaking planning conditions.

There have been numerous complaints, a large number posted as comments on The Guildford Dragon NEWS, that Aldi is remaining open until 10pm, despite a planning request being refused by GBC on the eve of the store’s opening, and that the planning condition that only one HGV delivery per day would be made is being broken.

Traffic queueing to enter the Aldi car park on Friday November 6th.

Traffic queue, to enter the Aldi car park, backing onto roundabout on Friday November 6th.

Dragon reader Adam Heilbron commented: “Aldi has been a disaster for Burpham. The traffic queueing for the store has often backed up to the Anchor and Horseshoes and beyond towards Guildford. People are now parking within the Weylea Farm and Burpham Lane area, sometimes on the new double yellow lines.”

A request sent to Aldi to comment on the complaints has not been answered.

Some readers have reported more positively. George Potter wrote: “I went to Aldi on the bus on Saturday (November 7th) lunchtime. In fairness, it was very busy at the roundabout but the traffic was still flowing, the bus got through easily enough and when I came out of Aldi with my shopping there were hardly any cars around, despite it being not much later than 1pm.”

A GBC spokesperson said: “With regards to the opening times and the number of HGV deliveries, including the delivery times, these matters are currently under investigation and we will be taking the appropriate action where necessary.

“There are two aspects to the parking: Regarding enforcement, we have been patrolling and have not observed any contraventions on the new double yellow lines outside Aldi. Enforcement action would be taken if we did see a contravention.

“As for future restrictions, we have recently consulted on whether new restrictions are needed in the area.  This included two exhibitions which were well attended and we received a considerable amount of feedback.

“There is a balance between allowing parking and improving traffic flow.  We will consider and report on the feedback before taking any proposals forward.”

The following video has been posted on YouTube by Burpham campaigner Jim Allen to demonstrate the traffic situation he witnessed last Friday (November 6th).

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Responses to Council Reacts To Complaints Following Aldi Opening

  1. Gina Redpath Reply

    November 10, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Looks like Aldi needs a licence to operate 24/7. Has there ever been a more popular store?

    • Jim Allen Reply

      November 11, 2015 at 10:22 am

      And detrimental to the environment, traffic congestion, and most importantly to the shops in Kingpost Parade.

  2. George Dokimakis Reply

    November 11, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Why does it take endless complaints for the council to check compliance with set planning conditions? I would expect multiple checks to be happening to ensure everything is in working order, not a reliance on residents’ exasperation.

    Having visited, the parking situation is ridiculous the layout has been ill-thought. These problems will persist. Not only is parking insufficient, access to it is problematic.

  3. Adam Knight Reply

    November 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    If anyone would like to make an official complaint about Aldi’s breached planning conditions, the council have today informed me that this is the correct form to use. I thought it may be of interest to some of the commenters here…

    • Celia Johnson Reply

      November 12, 2015 at 9:11 am

      I am grateful for this. I shall use it to report every breach of conditions I see.

  4. Peter Challens Reply

    November 11, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    To help GBC investigate the opening times of Aldi, i.e. whether they open til 9pm or 10pm can I refer them to Aldi’s advertisement on page 15 of The Surrey Advertiser which states “Opening Hours Mon – Sat 8am – 10pm”

    Job done, the council should now act.

    • Mike Sinclair Reply

      November 13, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Exactly, their own notice expressly flouts the planning permission.

      A couple of days ago, in the build up to the afternoon rush hour, I witnessed a near total gridlock at the roundabout. Guildford needs its arterial roads free running – this is an imperative for the good health of the town.

      What about the Burpham village hall? Its car park will just become an overflow car park for ALDI devaluing the functionality of a great village hall.

      There is a case to consider moving delivery times to late at night and increasing the opening hours.

      I do not see this problem area going away soon.

  5. John Robson Reply

    November 12, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Aldi is only open six days a week.

    When this site was occupied by a public house the opening hours were 11am-11.20pm, seven days a week, coupled with the odd bit of anti-social behaviour and improptu karaoke sessions upon leaving the establishment.

    Sainsbury’s which is only a short trolley dash away is open seven days a week.

    In these times of austerity and foodbanks, it is an outrage that the people of Guildford do not have access to a low cost supermarket seven days a week because it’s image does not fit in with the neighbourhood.

    Maybe longer opening hours would also smooth out the traffic peaks?

    Has Waitrose impacted on town centre congestion or is the gridlock just more gridlocked than usual? Then again it’s Waitrose eh?

    The Guildford Dragon has not observed or received reports of extra traffic problems caused by Waitrose. Ed

    • Peter Challens Reply

      November 12, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Aldi is open Sunday from 10am to 4pm according to their advertisement. I did not include that as it was not relevant to the point I was making.

    • George Dokimakis Reply

      November 12, 2015 at 11:48 am

      How can one judge additional traffic to an already gridlocked area?

      • Mike Sinclair Reply

        November 13, 2015 at 9:49 am

        Surely this is easily assessed. Just look to see where the cars are going to i.e. Aldi, and observe the congestion building.

        • Harry Eve Reply

          November 13, 2015 at 12:32 pm

          I think the point that Mr Dokimakis might be making is that once traffic is in a very slow-moving queue any traffic flow measurement will record a low flow rate – the traffic that can flow rather than the traffic that wants to flow – indicating no apparent problem.

          Adding more traffic to the queue will not increase the measured flow rate and this will only rise when, paradoxically, the queue begins to clear. Apologies if this seems dull compared to the other responses.

    • Anna-Marie Davis Reply

      November 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      Yes, and Burpham is a village.

    • Anne Lowe Reply

      November 14, 2015 at 8:16 am

      I totally agree with your comments. Aldi has only been open for nibe days, give it time and things will calm down I am sure.

      I live around the corner from the store and have not seen any more traffic congestion than before.

      When I return from work traffic is often at a standstill coming from the roundabout (known as the roundabout due to the three sets of traffic lights) and three roundabouts before you get to Sainsbury’s, not to mention the traffic and another set of lights to get to the A3.

      So let’s not hang this all on Aldi.

      If Waitrose had applied to build on the site it would have been built and open years ago.

    • Allen Johnson Reply

      November 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Significant traffic delays caused by Waitrose, now slap bang in the middle of town, have meant I no longer use York Road for access to the town or to the bus or railway stations. I avoid Guildford – and I live here.

  6. Liz Critchfield Reply

    November 12, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    In response to Mr Robson, I doubt anyone is concerned about having a discount supermarket in Guildford. This is not, and never has been, a brand issue. It is about the unsuitability of the site for any supermarket – it’s too small and the entrance into Burpham Lane too dangerous for a mix of cars, bicycles, HGVs and people, many of them children.

  7. John Robson Reply

    November 13, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Safety is paramount, but I simply do not see the issue. Traffic levels and types are no more onerous than what the rest of Guildford is subjected to. How many Sainsbury HGV’s are passing the playground next to their superstore 200 yards down the road?

    The Sainsbury’s Extra on Worplesdon road is on a smaller foot print, how does that get it’s food delivered? Yet there was nowhere near the same level of hysteria, but it’s obviously on the other side of the A3 so irrelevant, this is just a severe case of Burphamitis.

    And if the store closes at 10pm, instead of 9pm, other than filling up YouTube with videos of traffic queues? What difference will it really make? I can’t even believe I’ve even been drawn into this debate.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      November 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      I am glad John Robson believes safety is paramount. Sadly his knowledge of Burpham could be improved.

      Sainsbury’s is buried into the community infrastructure and I have never in ten years seen a Sainsbury’s HGV reversing onto the public roads system or driving out of a no exit on King Post Parade and very rarely have I seen traffic queueing on the nearest roundabout to enter their car park. Most notably the school crossing point is controlled by traffic lights.

      Aldi is on the main road, its car park entrance is cutting across the footpath primary children use to go to school. The practice of reversing HGV’s across and out into the road is unacceptable in terms of highway and planning considerations. It is unsafe.

      Although decried by Mr Robson, what he terms “Burphamitis” is, I believe, simply caring for our community. Is that so wrong? If we shout when planning conditions are abused is that also so wrong?

      And if he does not like viewing honest videos showing the true traffic problems Aldi has created in Burpham he had better stop visiting YouTube because there are plenty more to come.

      • John Robson Reply

        November 15, 2015 at 7:16 pm

        Guildford’s a small town so I know Burpham very well. I lived in Burpham 15 years ago when at rush hour it was as gridlocked then as it is now. The point about gridlock is that it does what it says on the tin, nothing moves. I fail to see how adding another 70-100 cars to the queue makes any difference, unless you’re in the queue.

        As for safety, where we live our school run means our women and children have to turn onto a blind bend of the A3 with it’s 15,000,000 traffic movements per annum and where there are more HGV’s in a minute that Burpham’s ALDI gets in a month, only these 40 tonne projectiles are travelling at 60mph.

        Despite 50 years of lobbying, the powers that be decree it’s safe because nobody has died… yet.

        As for planning conditions I have first hand experience of one of Guildford’s institutions breaking planning consents. But when challenged GBC’s planning department told us the documents associated with the original approval “now carry little weight” as “times have changed”.

        However, when Burpham squeals about a bit of extra traffic and a supermarket staying open an hour longer than agreed, GBC ask how high do you wish us to jump?

        But like I said, I get it, it’s Burpham.

        • Jim Allen Reply

          November 15, 2015 at 11:33 pm

          The difference now, with this, “little bit of extra traffic”, as Mr Robson puts it, is that the road has been narrowed opposite Kingpost Parade; any emergency vehicles simply cannot get through without cars mounting the pavement.

          If it wasn’t for Burpham standing our ground the six other neighbourhood forums would not exist in the borough.

          Why everyone who doesn’t live in Burpham has such a downer on our active community is a mystery to me? Why does they object to someone speaking up? Do they not understand what is going on? We don’t hear such complaints when the GVG or the GGG speak out so why bemoan Burpham?

    • Lisa Wright Reply

      November 13, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      The issue is not necessarily about Aldi for me. It’s the chaos that Guildford Borough Council has caused to Burpham. I am watching carefully to see how the council deal with their lack of professionalism.

      If they can’t manage a supermarket within the terms of planning restrictions, how will they ever cope with large scale developments such as Blackwell Farm or Wisley airfield? Strikes me, they’ll be walked all over and developers will again be able to do exactly as they please.

  8. Sally Parrott Reply

    November 13, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    I’m embarrassed that I wrote in support of this, though not for traffic chaos in Burpham, just in favour of ‘cheap’ supermarkets in Guildford.

    Perhaps Guildford now needs a Lidl on the other side of town to take the pressure off Burpham?

  9. Dave Middleton Reply

    November 13, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    While there can be no doubt that the new Aldi has generated a small degree of congestion in the immediate vicinity and the car park is operating at maximum capacity, I dare say that once the novelty factor has worn off and people stop going there just to have a look inside, things will settle down and the traffic issues will ease off.

    If they don’t then the shoppers going to Aldi will rapidly get fed up with queuing and waiting and will take their custom elsewhere.

    Just my humble opinion as someone who has no particular axe to grind on the matter.

  10. Daren Spice Reply

    November 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense must have known that, when Aldi was granted planning permission, traffic would get heavier in Burpham. As a result of the development at Raynham Close, Burpham has already suffered an increase in traffic and too many cars parked and the end of Burnet Avenue, making it impossible to turn onto New Inn Lane in rush hour.

    The new Aldi was folly, but I assume that the nothing will be done to enforce planning conditions given the increase in business rates that the Aldi must bring.

  11. Jack Dawson Reply

    November 16, 2015 at 8:36 am

    The first question the council asks when any application is submitted is, “Will this affect the residents of Horsely?” If the answer is no, then it can go ahead.

    The good folk of Burpham are well down the pecking order, what they need to do is organise a march on the council offices, be wealthy enough to hire the best independent planning advice and then get some dirt on a senior councillor. It’s called “doing a Juneja”.

    • Keith Reeves Reply

      November 20, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Excellent! I do like a good chuckle in the evenings.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      November 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Perhaps Jack Dawson has not noticed. Not one member of the Executive of GBC represents the north eastern side of the borough. So it is rather unlikely that the first question they ask is whether an application will affect Horsley.

      On the other hand there is no doubt that Ash is heavily represented on the Executive – and has supplied the Conservatives with their last leader, their current temporary leader and, it seems, their next, leader.

      Burpham was previously represented on the Executive by Ms Juneja. Its a shame that her constituents did not expose her earlier.

  12. Dave Middleton Reply

    November 18, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Drove past Aldi twice today – Wednesday, November 18. 10am and midday. No queues, no congestion. Looks like things have settled down a bit now that the novelty of the new store has worn off. Don’t know if they’re still opening until 10pm as I don’t go out in the dark.

  13. Jim Allen Reply

    November 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

    They are still breaking all the planning conditions they were on the day they opened and their Health and Safety practices make ideal examples of what not to do in a public space.

  14. C Mayne Reply

    November 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I passed Aldi just before 9pm last night. Two HGVs were there – one in the delivery bay, one in the car park. The drivers told me that a minimum of two deliveries a day was standard for any Aldi store. They were unaware of the restrictions in force – which, I pointed out, were what Aldi had requested in their planning application.

    I went into the store and asked to speak to the manager. (There seem to be numerous deputy managers and assistant managers, never the manager). They said they were unaware that the store should close at 9pm.

    The store stays open until 10pm, and there are shelf-stackers working there well after that time – all lights everywhere blazing.

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