Devon villagers' fury as Heaver Brothers bids to extend depot opening hours

Residents in Broadclyst Station have reacted with fury to proposals from a haulage company to extend the hours they are allowed to operate. Lodge Trading Estate in Broadclyst Station is home to Heaver Brothers Ltd, one of two haulage companies operating from the site in the rural location. Under their condition of their planning permission, they are only able to operate between 7am and 9pm, but Heaver Brothers have submitted plans to East Devon District Council to extend those hours to 6am to 10pm.

In a statement with the application, they say they have ‘strictly adhered’ to the current operating hours, but the extension is necessary to allow them to operate more efficiently. But local residents of the rural village have objected to the scheme, saying it would be unfair on them and that the vehicles already cause disruption due to noise and dangerous traffic congestion so would be inappropriate to allow the extension to existing hours of business as it will impact on the safety and wellbeing of local residents who are already distressed due to noise and vibration.

Ian Thresher, in his objection, said: “The approval of this application would cause more noise nuisance, more disturbance and an increased risk of Highway safety as well as traffic generation to name just a few issues. This application, surely, for common sense sake must be refused.

“If Heaver’s wish to operate longer hours surely they should let / buy premises away from residential areas for example, the new Sky Park near the airport where companies such as DPD have set up headquarters.”

Residents have spoken about their frustration over traffic problems in BroadclystResidents have spoken about their frustration over traffic problems in Broadclyst

Another objector added: “I am very surprised to read that the current operating hours are 7am – 9pm. As a resident of Shercroft Close I can confirm that this is most certainly not being adhered to. All hours of day and night there is extreme noise from these HGVs.

Our house backs on to Station Road and the house shakes when these vehicles travel past. We also have a toddler who is frequently woken by the noise all through the night which is totally unacceptable. “Noise aside, the road is not suitable for the current volume of traffic, that’s without the size of vehicle and planned increase in traffic with the ever sprawling Cranbrook development.

It is no longer safe to walk along the stretch of Station Road and it’s a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or worse. “This isn’t a personal attack on the company, but it is a direct objection to any further disregard for local residents. A once quiet, enjoyable place to live is fast becoming the complete opposite.”

Paul Howe added: “Heaver Bros lorries are already trying to get across the railway bridge without causing traffic congestion on both sides of the road and this is made even worse at peak traffic times of the day.

“Station Road cannot accommodate such heavy use by such lorries of this size and I am personally always worried to see such a small barrier protecting the road from the children’s nursery in the old Hungry Fox site “A lot of people also walk along this road, with only a small amount of pavement from Station Road to the Terraced Houses and any extended hours for Heaver Bros will just make it even more unsafe for local residents. “I personally feel that any concession before 7am to be completely unfair and very anti-social on the Broadclyst Station Residents.

The firm should never have been granted permission to use this site in the first place and any planning application to allow them to operate under even more extensive hours would be another kick to people that live in this area already under enough pressure from numerous planning proposals encroaching into our area.”

The narrow road makes is difficult for large vehicles and cars to negotiate the roadThe narrow road makes is difficult for large vehicles and cars to negotiate the road

Lisa Hebbard added: “This situation is tragic and disgraceful. Heaver and other large-vehicle/heavy traffic volume companies should never have been permitted to operate in this rural residential area. People’s peace and quality of life has been seriously affected, some I think even feel they need to move now.

Heaver ought to be on a main road or trading estate, not this backwater.” But in a statement with the application, Heaver Brothers say that the business can operate from the premises under the revised extended operational hours without detriment to local residents’ amenity.

Be the first to hear about our top stories

For more of the latest news near you, sign up to receive our newsletters. The daily and weekly bulletins are simple, easy to read and we’ll only send the most important stories.

Our teams are committed to bringing you the latest news, guiding you through this global pandemic and writing the stories that matter. See our Devon newsletters here, sign up for bulletins from Cornwall here and pick your Plymouth emails here. It says: “During the course of the more than two years that Heaver Brothers business has operated from these premises, business has adhered strictly to the operating hours specified and continues to do so.

“Since commencing operations at the premises Heaver Brothers has only received one complaint regarding noise. The complaint was made directly from a local resident and related to an exhaust pipe silencer on a forklift truck. Heaver Brothers took the complaint very seriously and undertook the necessary work to the exhaust pipe silencer, to reduce the noise and rectify the matter on the same day as the complaint.

“There are several reasons for Heaver Brothers, requiring these revised hours. The revised hours will allow the staffing of the workshop and yard to operate more efficiently. In particular, the earliest start time of 6am instead of 7am, will allow the workshop to make any necessary adjustments or repairs to commercial vehicles that might be required first thing in the morning, such as engines not starting due to cold weather, to enable them to be dispatched in a timely fashion, thereby maximising business efficiency, better avoiding the highways morning peak of 8am to 9am.

“The additional time at the beginning and at the end of the working day will also provide the business with greater flexibility to transfer loads to and from visit vehicles within the yard. “The proposed operational hours will not affect the number or the amount of commercial or staff vehicles, arriving at or departing from the premises. It is our professional opinion that the Heaver Brothers business can operate from the premises under the revised extended operational hours without detriment to local residents’ amenity.”

East Devon District Council planners will determine the fate of the application for the variation of operating hours at a later date. More top stories: Devon pubs booked up as ‘manic’ bank holiday weekend looms

EastEnders Adam Woodyatt spotted at luxury Devon glamping site