RESIDENTS who complained about staff at the new Waitrose store in Malmesbury using an illegal car park on farmland behind their homes are hoping their nights of disturbed sleep are over.
People living in Baskerville said they had to put up with car doors slamming, radios and in one case, a contractor urinating against their garden hedge when the temporary car park was opened for workers building the store behind the Avon Silk Mills.
When the store opened they were dismayed to find the noise continued, with staff arriving early in the morning or leaving late at night.
But they were assured by Wiltshire Council’s planning enforcement department this week that the car park, which was opened by the chain in a temporary arrangement with the owner to alleviate parking problems in Burton Hill during construction, would have to shut by September 5.
Lis Collingridge, whose home borders the field, told the Standard her family had been woken late at night and early in the mornings. “We had someone staying with us and she complained she was woken up at 3am by chatting and torch lights. People are regularly woken up at 5.30am.”
She added that previous attempts to make Wiltshire Council take enforcement action had failed.
Her neighbour Sam Entwisle said her daughter had gone to school several times on two hours less sleep because of the disturbance. “It is a field that is supposed to have animals in it.”
She pointed out there was space in the Waitrose car park. “There is plenty of room for the staff,” she said A Waitrose spokesman said: "Our partners are parking off site in a temporary location just for the opening period. Once our trading pattern is more established, a number of staff will be able to use the store car park and our travel plan will encourage staff to use public transport, cycle, walk or car share."
And this week it looked as though store staff had taken notice of the residents’ complaints because very few were seen parking on the field.
Wiltshire Councillor Simon Killane said Waitrose had updated enforcement officers about their intentions and the matter of residents being woken at 3am was being investigated.
He added: “The planning enforcement officer has instructed Waitrose that parking on the temporary car park must cease on Friday 5th September. I will check the site after 5th September to personally confirm that this is the case.”