A Getir fast delivery site which had fitted itself out as a catalogue shop has been ordered to shut.
A judge in Amsterdam upheld an order from Amsterdam city council in May that the store on a quiet street in De Pijp where car traffic has been reduced, needs to close in two weeks.
It had been told to shut due to months of complaints of nuisance from neighbours about noise and frequent deliveries blocking the street, during its extended-hours operation.
Getir is one of a number of fast delivery companies vying for market share in the Netherlands. They promise customers anything from a tin of dog food to a can of beer delivered to their door in minutes, often via electric bike from a centrally-located warehouse.
At a hearing at Amsterdam court earlier in July, Getir legal council Christine Strating argued that the store was trialling a ‘new concept’ – like a butcher or or catalogue retailer – where customers could order via touchscreen at the front and have an assistant fetch the products.
However the city’s lawyer, T. van den Akker, claimed the conversion into a more conventional store – after the closure order – was a ‘trick’ and took up too few square metres to be considered its primary purpose.
She argued that the distribution centre, known as a ‘dark store’ since windows used to be partially covered and customers banned, was not permitted under zoning plans for the area.
A city inspection at the end of June did not find any customers using the Getir site to pick up orders or use as a shop.
Getir had gone to court for a provisional ruling so that it could remain open pending a full case, however the judge found that there was ‘no prospect’ that the store could be legalised, a proposed €20,000 fine was ‘proportionate’ and enforcement was justified given the issues.
‘The consequences are not only nuisance experienced by people living nearby but also the objective spacial consequences such as transport movements, noise from bicycle deliverers, loading and unloading supplies and activities outside shopping hours, for example until midnight,’ the judge wrote in the verdict.
This, she found, was ‘more burdensome’ than a normal retail business, which would be permitted at the site.
The closure is the latest in a number of store shut-downs in Amsterdam, after the council pledged to ban the fast-delivery warehouses from residential and partially shopping streets due to the level of residential complaints.
Rival firm Gorillas failed to stop the city from shutting down one of its locations in De Pijp in June under zoning rules, and the British Zapp is understood to be exiting the Dutch market, citing city regulation as one reason. Two more stores have been ordered to close in Amsterdam West, and both Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a freeze on new warehouse openings.
Getir is understood to be making a formal protest against the council’s order, however there is no legal possibility to appeal the latest court ruling.
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