The Echo reports this morning:
CAMPAIGNERS are urging a superstore to guarantee it will not stay open for 24 hours.
The Asda store in Rawreth Lane, Rayleigh, has the option to trade around the clock without permission from Rochford District Council because there is nothing in the planning conditions preventing it.
Neighbours in Rayleigh are worried that if the supermarket, which opened at the end of October, decides to do this, it will lead to increased night-time traffic around the store and constant glaring light from its signs.
Sweyne Park councillor Jackie Dillnutt has teamed up with residents keen to petition Asda for a written guarantee it will never stay open for 24 hours.
But an Asda spokesman said while there were no plans for the Rayleigh store to change its trading hours, it could not guarantee it would never happen.
Mrs Dillnut said: “The petition hasn’t got up and running yet but looks likely.
“We will firstly gauge what residents think about the situation.”
She pointed out the store had already changed its opening hours over the festive season.
It normally opens from 7.30am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
Corey Vost, 36, who lives opposite the store, in Temple Way, said: “It causes us enough inconvenience already with all the noise and light from the service yard. It’s like having Blackpool Illuminations outside and means we go without sleep.”
Mike Stranks, Rochford Council’s development control team leader, confirmed Asda’s planning conditions did not restrict 24-hour trading and it would not need further permission to vary its hours.
Asda’s head of property communications, Jonathan Refroy, said: “As it stands, we have no desire to operate the store on a 24-hour basis.
“Given the location, trading patterns and customer environment we don’t feel that would be appropriate at the current time.
“That’s not to say that in a few years’ time it will not change.
“It’s always a changing environment and if there was customer demand we would review our decision.”