Court closes flash grocer's distribution point in Amsterdam
The court in Amsterdam ordered a rapid grocery delivery service to close one of their distribution points, often called "dark stores," in the city. Amsterdam closed the dark store because it violated the zoning plan. The delivery service, Zapp, filed an objection. But the court ruled in the municipality's favor, NOS reports.
The ruling could have far-reaching consequences for all rapid grocery delivery services in the Netherlands. Many of their distribution spots are located in residential areas. Amsterdam currently counts 31 such dark stores - called that because their windows are often blocked out, and no customers go in and out - and the city receives many complaints about it, alderman Mariek van Doorninck (Spatial Development and Sustainability) said to the broadcaster.
"This ruling is a huge support for us," Van Doorninck said. "As city management, we stand for protecting our residential areas. The ruling indicates that we have made a good choice with the regulation and that the zoning plan is leading." The ruling is also good news for local residents, Van Doorninck said. "The street's quality of life is protected."
Amsterdam expects to present a formulated policy for the conditions for dark stores next month and to have it in place by the end of the year. They'll likely not be allowed to open in residential - or mixed neighborhoods consisting of homes and shops.
The Zapp dark store in question, located on Fagelstraat in the west of Amsterdam, must close by Thursday at the latest. The city received dozens of complaints about it, including traffic nuisance and dangerous situations caused by waiting delivery workers and suppliers. The zoning plan designates the space as residential or for business activities in the "Post and Telecommunications" category.
The owner argued that it could be seen as a postal and telecommunications company, but the court ruled against it. The court ruled that it is, in fact, a storage and distribution center that is active 24 hours a day. It cannot be considered a retailer because shoppers cannot walk into the store and buy products themselves, the court said.
Over the weekend, Amsterdam closed three dark stores in the De Pijp area belonging to Zapp, Getir, and Gorillas.