SUPERMARKET chain Waitrose has applied to extend delivery hours to and from its Northwich store to 24 hours a day.

The store, located in London Road, is currently permitted to allow HGV deliveries between 6am and 10pm from Monday to Saturday and between 8am to 9pm on Sundays.

Waitrose is seeking to extend this delivery window to allow lorry deliveries to additionally take place between 10pm to 6am – covering the full 24 hours per day.

It is also seeking to vary a planning condition to enable home deliveries to be extended to take place from 7am to 10pm on Sundays.

Waitrose says that it is not proposing to increase the current number of HGV deliveries to the store, but is instead seeking to spread these deliveries out over a longer period.

Planning documents state that the reason for the application is due to the current Covid-19 pandemic accelerating demand for supermarket home deliveries and other online facilities such as click and collect.

The documents add: “While the trend towards online shopping is set to continue in the future, Waitrose’s physical stores will remain the core of the business.

“The application will ensure that the store remains fully stocked throughout the day and able to meet the needs of visiting shoppers.

“This will allow the store to continue performing its important role in anchoring and supporting the vitality and viability of Northwich town centre.”

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Waitrose was operating two home delivery vans from its Northwich store, with two to four HGV deliveries per day along with deliveries from local suppliers in smaller vehicles.

Waitrose has increased the frequency of home deliveries and HGV deliveries in recent weeks in response to ‘unprecedented demand arising from the pandemic’, in line with the Government’s temporary relaxation of delivery restrictions to supermarkets.

A delivery noise impact assessment prepared by Waitrose states that there will be no significant adverse impact on surrounding residential properties, which includes a retirement complex.

The supermarket also states that any overall impact on traffic movements is likely to be negligible, and deliveries during the night will avoid peak traffic hours, thereby improving highway safety.