Asda must stop taking and making overnight deliveries at its Stevenage shop, councillors have ruled.

The supermarket giant failed in its bid to overturn delivery restrictions earlier in 2024.

According to a Stevenage Borough Council report, the authority is receiving “ongoing complaints” about deliveries taking place 24 hours a day.

The company must only take and make deliveries between 7am and 9pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and between 7am and 3pm on Sundays – rules dating back to planning permission secured in the year 2000.

When Asda tried to remove these time limits altogether in an application refused on February 14, 2024, neighbours told the authority about “disruptions” to their sleep.

“As it is, we have disruptions from Royal Mail and on occasion from overnight engineering works at Stevenage train station, which will only be exacerbated if this permission is granted,” one objector from London Road wrote.

“A 24-hour delivery service would be intolerable and have a detrimental effect on the quality of sleep.”

Another wrote: “Noise pollution will increase as there isn’t a great deal of space in the yard, meaning heavy goods vehicles currently have to reverse in with their sounders going.”

A third said: “Despite the brick wall around the service yard and the minimal acoustic fence directly adjacent to the service road, the noise pollution is already significant.”

They added: “Large lorries struggle to turn and have to manoeuvre for significant periods in order to get into the yard.”

According to Stevenage Borough Council officers, authority staff suggested Asda could extend the delivery slots time to an 11pm cut-off on weekdays and Saturdays, and a 5pm cut-off on Sundays.

“No response to this suggestion has been received,” they wrote.

“Deliveries are taking place 24 hours a day in breach of the terms of the condition, which is causing late night and early morning noise disturbance to residents living locally.”

At a meeting on Tuesday, April 2, councillors gave Stevenage Borough Council permission to serve an enforcement notice to Asda.

Senior staff may “take all steps necessary, including prosecution or any other litigation or works in default to secure compliance with the enforcement notice”.

A council spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Other supermarkets in the town may have planning restrictions imposed with respect to servicing and deliveries.

“Should a complaint be received about these supermarkets, it would be investigated accordingly and if there are any restrictions on servicing and deliveries associated with that supermarket, then this could potentially be enforced accordingly.

“To date, no complaints have been received in relation to these respective supermarkets other than with respect to the Asda store.”

When Asda applied to lift the restrictions, its team told the authority: “This application is required in order to allow Asda to continue to effectively serve the residents of Stevenage.”

A document handed to the council noted the government relaxed delivery time restrictions between March 2020 and January 31, 2022 – during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Asda took the opportunities to receive and send deliveries from its Stevenage store on a 24 hours a day, seven days a week basis during the pandemic,” the company’s team wrote.

“The lifting of restrictions eased the burden on Asda’s supply chain by enabling deliveries of high-demand products to be made without unnecessary delay.

“This has been important in order to meet both deliveries in store to ensure products can be maintained in stock for shoppers at the store, and the demand for home deliveries can be met.

“One of the many long-term impacts of the coronavirus impacts has been the shift in the public’s shopping habits.

“The demand for home deliveries has increased massively since the pandemic and pressures on the Asda supply chain still remain incredibly high.”