CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Parents fight ‘delivery depot’ planned for railway arches

'This is not farmer Giles and his mates – this is a big company'

19 March, 2021 — By Tom Foot

The Farmdrop site in Camden Town

PARENTS say children’s safety is at risk after an online grocers applied to set up a “depot” for Deliveroo deliveries near a primary school.

Farmdrop wants to use two units at the railway arches in Hartland Road, Camden Town, as a warehouse between 7am and 11pm to prepare orders, including alcohol.

Orders will then be delivered by Deliveroo to separate locations. Farmdrop has seen a boom during lockdown due to soaring demand for online fresh food deliveries, and has been backed by big money investors.

But parents of Holy Trinity and St Silas Primary School pupils and the neighbouring church’s vicar are objecting to a licensing application, warning that a quiet cul-de-sac will be overrun by bikers which they say “presents a clear and present danger to children”.

One parent and school governor, who lives in Hartland Road but did not want to be named, said: “This will be a nightmare for all of us with an influx of speeding mopeds around our streets and the new nuisance of loitering drivers awaiting pick-ups.

“It is going to change from being an operation delivering business to business, to business to individual customers. It’s changing to something else when you start working with Deliveroo.”

They added: “I just think a lot of people don’t understand what they are letting themselves in for. I don’t care if they are selling alcohol, as long as they are not disturbing residents. This kind of seems beyond the pale. This is not farmer Giles and his mates – this is a big company.”

Last June, traffic-stopping bollards went up near St Silas to create a safe and quiet road for schoolchildren. But there are concerns this system will be ruined by delivery bikers waiting or racing to make “tight deadlines”.

St Silas vicar Father Graeme Rowlands, who has also objected, said: “Without public notice or proper consultation, two of the arches will be given over to Deliveroo operations – this after they have cut off Hartland Road, Harmood Street [and] Clarence Way with bollards, ostensibly to make things safer.”

Farmdrop says it aims to make it easy for shoppers to buy fresh food online with minimal packaging and be a sustainable rival to the major supermarkets.

In a presentation to parents, it said it was running three sites in London selling 300 products and that most deliveries would be between 8am and 8pm and the collection driver vehicles would be mostly “scooters or pushbikes with a few motorbikes or cars”, adding: “Farmdrop is an online grocery delivery company. We aim to make it easy for customers to make the most planet-friendly choices.”

Its application added that the premises “will be used as a small warehouse to store products and prepare orders for customers which are delivered by a third party (Deliveroo) to separate locations. Access to the premises is via a roller shutter door and a single pedestrian door.”

Deliveroo did not respond in time to the New Journal’s request for a comment.

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