Ocado launch own survey in latest depot battle twist

Food delivery giant’s consultation dismissed as ‘PR exercise’

Friday, 30th April 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Ocado paper chain

Protesters stand against the proposed Ocado depot at Bush Industrial Estate

DISTRUST is brewing among councillors and campaigners after a food delivery giant launched its own consultation this week over the use of a site in Tufnell Park.

Ocado’s survey follows a long-running dispute over whether the company should be allowed to use the Bush Industrial Estate for a depot and distribution centre.

It is taking the council to court over a decision to revoke a licence allowing permission for a depot on the site.

The Nocado campaign and nearby Yerbury primary school have repeatedly warned that it would cause too much noise, disruption and pollution.

Ocado says it delivered to one in six households in Islington last year and the scheme would make it easier for customers.

Cllr Richard Watts

Tollington ward councillor Richard Watts, the former leader of Islington Council, said: “This consultation does not have any formal status. The data from it belongs to Ocado. It is not a consultation on a planning application or a council consultation that would inform our decision on a planning application.”

He added: “It is surprising for Ocado to launch this consultation at a time when they are simultaneously trying to take the council to court on the basis of trying to effectively remove the need for them to make any sort of planning application to the council in the first place. Everyone I have talked to in the local area says that it feels a bit like a PR exercise.”

Junction ward councillor Sheila Chapman said: “They have done everything back to front.

“Normally someone thinks about what they want to do, engages stakeholders, goes to the community, talks to them and then submits a planning application.”

Ocado now say they will not use diesel or petrol delivery vans and will build a “living wall” to promote biodiversity.

Yerbury headteacher Cassie Moss

But Yerbury headteacher Cassie Moss said: “My main concern lies with what Ocado are not telling the public in their consultation – that they have plans for a one-hour ‘zoom service’ using sub-contracted cars and mopeds that won’t be electric, that the heavy goods vehicles’ delivery times run through most of the day and night, and that they are taking the council to court rather than engaging with the proper consultation process by submitting a full and transparent planning application with commitments they can be held accountable for.”

An Ocado spokesperson said: “Ocado is committed to making our site on the Bush Industrial Estate the greenest and quietest grocery facility in the UK, with a 100 per cent electric van fleet.

“We delivered to one in six households in the London borough of Islington in 2020 and if the site was open then, there would have been a 45 per cent reduction in the number of miles travelled by our fleet to deliver to customers in the area. The site will also contribute to the local economy by creating 250 new jobs.

“Our aim is to be the best possible neighbour to the local community whilst bringing a faster and more sustainable service to our customers in Islington.”

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