First Getir ‘dark store’ in Amsterdam gets €20,000 fine
A Getir fast delivery store in De Pijp in Amsterdam has been given a €20,000 fine for breaching planning laws.
Earlier this year, a court found that the store – which had been partially fitted as a supermarket – was primarily a warehouse serving super-fast deliveries in the city.
This was deemed to cause more nuisance to the neighbourhood due to extended opening hours and more frequent deliveries to re-stock a small but wide range of goods. A judge in July ordered the firm to close the store, but it carried on operating as ‘a supermarket’.
The new fine for continuing to breach zoning rules is the first to be imposed in Amsterdam, which has been struggling with ‘flash delivery’ companies delivering to customers day and night in minutes, with a fleet of bicycles and scooters.
Their warehouses, known as ‘dark stores’ as they initially had blacked-out windows, have sparked a tsunami of complaints about traffic, noise, delivery vehicles on the street and neighbourhood friction.
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Diemen and Utrecht have drawn up rules to limit nuisance from several ‘flash delivery’ chains, funded by venture capital and fighting for market dominance. In the Dutch capital, new regulations will ban the stores from residential neighbourhoods and most mixed-use areas, where they have settled in order to be nearer their client base.
However in De Pijp, where residents collected a mass complaint a year ago, the Getir store on a residential street has not closed as ordered by the court, but remained operating as ‘a supermarket’ – and so the council has decided to impose a fine.
Deputy mayor Reinier van Dantzig, head of public space at Amsterdam council, said this was the right decision. ‘The municipality did not act overnight but did thorough research and took the time to see whether the store…really became a supermarket as they said,’ he said in a statement. ‘It appears that this branch still mainly focuses on grocery delivery. It does not fit the zoning plan and so we believe it should close.’
In September, Amsterdam council ordered another Getir store in the Rivierenbuurt to close on the basis of breaching the zoning plan, a claim which Getir is understood to be fighting.
A spokeswoman, who asked not to be named, shared a statement from Getir. ‘The council’s decision is unjust,’ it said. ‘Our location in De Pijp functions almost flawlessly…There is no difference between the Getir location…and many pizzerias, liquor stores and other retailers that combine a store with home delivery. It is a basic principle in Dutch law to treat equal cases equally and we appeal to the municipality to respect this.’
Neighbours, meanwhile, reported a sense of despair. Several said that tensions on the street itself have worsened, telling Dutch News they have witnessed fist fights between residents and delivery drivers, ‘dangerous situations’ with the road dug up for a new traffic system, and sustained noise nuisance.
‘Despite the constant and repeated complaints to city hall, they don’t see anything happening or any intervention,’ said one member of the neighbourhood group, who did not want to be named for fear of intimidation. ‘From what I understand, I don’t think Getir will bat an eyelid at the fine. But, that being said, have they had enough?’
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