Online row over Tesco vehicles 'blocking' pavement while delivering to Bilton store
A Twitter exchange over lorries using the footpath while delivering goods at the Tesco Express in Bilton led to Rugby council labeling a comment from the store 'misleading'.
Rugby council made the clarification during a Twitter conversation between a resident and Tesco, in which Tesco claimed its vehicles had permission to block footpaths when dropping-off goods at its store in Bilton.
Matt Carroll took to Twitter to complain to Tesco about the danger caused by its vehicles blocking the pavement of Main Street in Bilton.
He said: "Yet again Tesco delivery trucks are making deliveries on the pavement outside Tesco Bilton Rugby.
"This contravenes road and planning regulations and is increasing the risk to pedestrians and other motorists. When will somebody deal with this?
"This is a persistent issue on a dangerous road. As a company you should take these matters more seriously - are you just going to wait for an accident?
"You should have your planning rights revoked for breaching regulations and traffic law."
Tesco's official Twitter account responded to Mr Carroll by claiming the store has permission from the "city council" (sic) to block the footpath during deliveries.
Tesco's response was: "I can confirm I have spoken to my colleague in store and she has assured me that they have permission from the council to bring deliveries in this way.
"As I have previously stated the city council have gave the permission for delivery's to be handled this was as it is the stores only option and the store manager would like to contact you to explain this." (sic)
Rugby Borough Council responded to Tesco on Twitter, describing their statement as "misleading".
The council said: "This is misleading. @tesco do not have permission to load from the pavement but may from the forecourt. Obstructing the pavement is dangerous and loading from it is a planning breach."
A spokesman for Rugby Borough Council later told the Advertiser residents have been complaining since 2014 about lorries blocking the footpath near the store, with a total of seven reports of alleged breaches of the conditions.
The spokesman said: “Our planning enforcement team has investigated all reports of alleged breaches of the planning conditions at the Tesco Express store in Main Street, Bilton, and have worked with Tesco management to ensure the store’s delivery protocols meet the condition which states delivery vehicles must unload and load on the store’s forecourt.
“The council has no enforcement powers with regards to cars or lorries causing an obstruction by parking on the road or pavement, which remains a matter for the police.”
A spokesperson for Tesco later confirmed the store does not have permission to block the pavement while deliveries take place, but said the store does have permission for lorries to temporarily block the footpath while they manoeuvre onto the shop's forecourt to drop-off goods.
The spokesperson claimed the picture does not show the lorry dropping-off goods, adding it is open to interpretation - and could be showing the lorry moving onto the forecourt.
An enforcement officer from Rugby council attended the site yesterday, April 12, and found no evidence of the unloading of deliveries on the pavement, the spokesperson added.
But a picture posted to Twitter by Mr Carroll in July 2017 shows a Muller badged lorry blocking the footpath as a milk delivery is unloaded.
Tesco told the Advertiser: "The safety of customers, colleagues and pedestrians is our top priority when making deliveries.
"We work in partnership with Rugby Borough Council and have full legal and safety permissions to unload deliveries on the store forecourt.
"We are happy to speak to any customers in store to clarify questions they have."
The news comes after Sainsbury's on Hillmorton Road was fined Â£4,000 last year for breaching its planning permission conditions and allowing delivery vehicles to park on the road.