22/12/2015

Are Aldi as forward thinking & pro-cycling as some might believe...

Note: Updates to the blog are at the bottom if you like to get up to date if you have read the original blog already.

When I moved to Colchester in 2013, I looked out for places to go shopping where the shops have decent suitable, safe & secure cycle parking that meets my need as a disabled cyclist. Back then I needed my stick far more than I do now.

So literally just down the road from me I came across Aldi & I was pleased to see it not only had decent cycle parking but it met my needs, just the crossing of the access point of the car park is an issue but it is if you walked too.


It's even on par to Asda's cycle parking, which I use as they have a better range of goods but Aldi is great to have if I need a quick shop run.


And I've been happy to use it to shop at Aldi ever since, well that was until this year...

I started to see a trend which I made complaints about...


Being used as a trolley bay...



But more often being used by drivers to park in as car park is full.

So what did you think I get when I complained, nothing. Quite normal to be honest as most just feel it's totally acceptable to use the cycle parking as they see fit.

I know this as I see it at The Range, B&Q & Homebase.




So I thought, oh well the same old nonsense from yet another business who don't really care about cycle parking. Then it goes to a whole new level, I was there last week & I saw this...


Yup, they've gone & removed it! Gone is the safe, secure & convenient cycle parking! So I made a complaint & so did Colchester Cycle Campaign. I didnt get a response as usual but Colchester Cycle Campaign did. They were told, there's cycle parking at the rear. My response was 'What rear?' There is no rear! So I went to have a look...


As you can clearly see, there's no way there's any cycle parking at the rear of the building. So in the car park I go to have a look...

 

Nothing obvious showing or even signs to direct you there...

 

Still not see anything, so go to the Church section of the car park & loading bay...

 

And found the discarded cycle parking remains that was at the front. So look further on...


Found it, can you see it? Its tucked away in the dark dank rear of the car park...



A neglected cycle parking that's used as a dumping ground, not exactly a safe & secure convenient parking for cyclists & especially those like me with mobility issues which the front parking was perfect for. Definitely discrimination against cyclists & disabled customers IMO. 

So why have they done this & treated cycling customers as 3rd rate people? So to gain 3, yes THREE extra car parking spaces instead of the dozen cycle parking at the front that was used!!!


So is this how Aldi really feels about us cyclists? Would you take your family on their bikes & park here in the dark winter nights? Would anyone who cares about cycling & their bikes want to risk them parked in the dark recesses of the car park? I for sure will not be using Aldi again until I get a full apology & have the front cycle parking re-instated. 

Of course other cyclists won't bother too, nope they'll quite happily park their bikes at the front of the store & lock them to the railings & cause obstructions to others. 


Then it'll be those Bloody Cyclists again! Causing a nuisance & doing what they like when in fact it is Aldi who is to blame & I will happily tell that to anyone who blames the cyclists!

Will you happily feel its OK to be not seen & pushed out of sight, out of mind to those in the car park by using this poorly located & neglected cycle parking when we had something decent at the front in the first place. Pushed into the dark dank corner of the car park for 3 measly car parking spots?

So in answer to my question 'Are Aldi as forward thinking & pro-cycling as some might believe', my answer has to be no! They're as carcentric as many other companies & I can't wait to see what Lidl be like when it opens as I'll go there instead or stick to just Asda.

Update 30th January 2016

So far the response from Aldi has been very poor, so deafening quiet. Nothing, not even an excuse to justify for doing this. So I went there today at 6pm just as it got dark & normally be busy & here is what I observed.

  

As you can clearly see the well lit front parking area is busy & full of cars, cycle rack still not been put back.


Where is was is filled with just 2 badly parked cars...


No signs of any cycles in the front parking area or entrance...


So went to look at the rear & see the delivery HGV there, so now I guess Aldi are fine for cyclists to have to go around & mix with large HGV's in the car park. We all know what can happen here with such large vehicles with really poor field of vision.


And here's the back car park after I walked past the HGV & stand by the 2 cars parked on the left & where they now want cyclists to park right at the back. Just look how dark it is, how empty it is of cars too, not even drivers want to park in this dark & dingy section of the car park & guess what, no cycles parked here too. When the other cycle rack was at the front, I often saw 3 or 4 cycles there every time I went shopping at Aldi.

That's right, since when I saw the heinous actions of the Carcentric company & blogged about it I have not seen anyone park their bike at Aldi. Can't say I blame them, I won't be going to Aldi ever again. I don't care they could save me 1/3 off my shopping bill as they are treating me as a second rate customer for my choice of transport. For putting the convenience of the car above the safety & security of me & my bicycle as well as those who like to cycle to shop at Aldi, to discriminate me as a cyclist & a disabled shopper then why should I spend my hard earned income to feed their profit?

So Aldi here's an #aldichallenge for you, put back the cycle rack & make a public apology to those you're treating as second rate shoppers for choosing to cycle. Then maybe us cyclists will come back, until then Asda will get my business as they know how to treat cyclists with respect & give proper safe cycle parking.


Hell, even Tollgate are showing improvements in cycle parking: Looks like the redevelopment of Tollgate could be a good thing for cycling. So why are Aldi so backwards in this when they're supposed to be forward thinking in shopping?


Update 12th February 2016

After posting this blog on social media, some of my followers had mentioned that the car park isn't solely for Aldi customers & Kings Church to share. In fact the car park is split & the rear section is solely for the Kings Church members, so I went to investigate this further.

This is what I found...

 

As you can see there does seem to be fencing that I thought was due to bins but looks to be a boundary fencing too now I have had a closer look. As you can see, Aldi shoppers are parking where they like before the fencing despite spaces available in the back. Big yellow signs are visible but on a closer look you can see they all are not the same & wall signs backs it too.


Photo also shows a blue line which is the boundary of the 2 sections.


So the cycle rack are the rear actually belongs to Kings Church, therefore the removal of the cycle rack at the front means Aldi now has NO cycle parking at all. And those who do cycle to shop at Aldi are now forced to lock up where it now becomes an obstruction all thanks to Aldi.

 

The removal of the cycle parking hasn't improved parking of motor vehicles, if anything I have no doubt it has made cyclists who still shop there use their cars instead & as you can see it is shambles. Parking where they shouldn't as no spaces available...


And just 2 cars badly parked in the space of the old cycle parking that could easily have up to 12 cyclists parking & they were there be more parking spaces for the drivers choosing to shop here. It's clear now that Aldi does not want cyclists to shop here as there are now no cycle parking for them!


Oh & if you really really want to park at the rear at risk of getting in trouble with Kings Church, would you if you knew how poor the area is??

 

Would you really want to park your bike here?


Update 18th February 2016

Despite the emails going to & from Aldi & me, they haven't actually addressed the issue or spoke to me about why they did it & what they are going to do to rectify it but I am making waves. So today I get an email from a fellow cyclist of Aldi submitting a planning application for cycle parking on the footpath outside the car park, don the side of the store & besides the fire exits.
Link to the application: Aldi Planning Application


They also are trying to claim in the application the cycle parking at the rear is theirs & not belong to Kings Church, well I have already proved that to be a lie in previous update.

Of course I have submitted my objections & any others locally like to then please do so by the link given earlier. I have said the following in my objection:

I am objecting to the plans to put cycle racks outside the parking area of the Aldi store. There was previous covered cycle parking in the car park that was more than suitable for some years & I have been using since 2013 when I moved to Colchester & was always used when I was passing or shopping at this store, the store took this covered cycle parking down without consultation with those using it or from what I can tell without planning permission. It is at the moment dumped around the back by the loading bay. All of this is detailed in my blog with photographic evidence I posted publicly last year when Aldi had no intention to move the cycle parking but remove it solely for the benefit of a couple shoppers using cars. See link: http://the2wheeledwolf.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/are-aldi-as-forward-thinking-pro.html & this planning is a poor attempt to appease those who complained. The mentioned existing cycle parking around the back is not for Aldi, this cycle parking is solely for the church goers of Kings Church & signposted as such, again all mentioned in my blog as evidence.

The area Aldi is proposing is a public footpath & fire exit to the building, this does concern me as to safety for pedestrians using the footpath & if fire exits are needed to be use in an event of a fire, the area needs to be kept clear. Then there's the fact this location is less secure & not suitable for those shopping at Aldi who cycled there, especially those with disabilities, where the covered cycle rack was actually was perfect for getting to with shopping when on sticks especially when raining as it was a covered cycle rack.

Aldi are proving to show their carcentric attitude by trying to push out shoppers who cycle to their store to benefit just a couple motorists, it discourages sustainable travel & shopping at their store as well as encourages more motor traffic onto the roads as those that cycle there will now use their cars instead. Removing the existing covered cycle rack has not improved the parking situation, if anything it has made it worse. Aldi should be encouraging local shoppers to cycle there instead as this would help lower the demand for parking spaces for cars so instead of these plans I would like the planning department to enforce Aldi to re-instate the original covered cycle rack where it was & also provide a barrier to prevent cars being parked in it as they had allowed & prevented cyclists to use it before they removed it completely.

We will see how this pans out, I have had an email today to say the area manager will contact me to discuss this further but as yet I haven't heard from the area manager.


Update 22nd March 2016

Well after yet another email to Aldi to chase up the email from the area manager I haven't had, they have finally confirmed the reason why this has happened. See snapshot below to what they said.


Well I wasn't happy with that, so here's my reply to Jed.

"Thankyou Jed for finally replying, you have now confirmed the anti-cycling policy of Aldi as they have removed a perfectly good cycle rack that WAS at the from front of the store that can house around 12 cycles to encourage & give space to just 3 cars tho often 2 as badly parked. If parking is an issue this is not how to improve it or has.
The plans for additional cycle parking is based on lies & is NOT at the front of the store BUT is in fact at the side out of sight on the public footpath. Clearly you are not familiar with the site. And as a 'cyclist' you would know is is NOT acceptable. So I & others are objecting the plans & requesting council to force Aldi to put back the original rack. 
Pushing cyclists out will just encourage them to use cars so it will increase the demand on the car park for more than the 3 spaces gained. This is just illogical & in bad taste & sticking the fingers up to cyclists.
So no I do not understand or agree this an acceptable compromise."

So I will continue with this & keep updating as I go along.


Update 7th June 2016

Despite the objections & the lies from Aldi, Colchester Borough Council has granted Aldi to screw over cyclists. And to add insult to injury, Jed thought he be clever & try win me over with this & more lies to which I responded...



And he had the cheek to try promote their promotions..




But it isn't over yet, as I said the application was based on lies & the installed racks dont even meet the planning application.

 

As you can see the racks dont even match the plans & all squashed in one area & definitely is not in front of the store, instead around the corner out of sight from the store. Even the way it has been done is telling cyclists you aren't wanted in our store.

 


 When other companies supply far better cycle parking, why would you shop at a store that doesn't want you there by pulling up a perfectly good cycle parking & tell you to basically you're not as important as 3 other car driving customers.

 

Well from what I have seen so far no-one parks their bikes there now, I hope its to use the other shops with far better cycle parking than going there by car. I for one will no longer shop there.


Update 14th March 2017

So after I had posted this blog I had no further input from Aldi to put things right but had information of their other branch on opposite side of town on Magdalen St, so I went & had a look tho it's not an area I like to get to as route from Stanway part of town is not cycle friendly & definitely not for the fainthearted. And from what I have been told by campaigners, the cycle parking at this store had to be fought for too as it never had any when this Aldi branch opened.

And this is the best the company could give?

 


So on entering the car park, can you see the cycle parking? It's not where the bicycle is on the left by the trolleys...


Perhaps this will help...


Its there, right in front, tucked up by the retaining wall. 1 of 2 locations I saw here. The other is to my right & again tucked away in the corner.


And when you get to the racks, this really doesn't fill me with confidence in a safe place to park...


And on looking at the other set of racks...

 

Definitely not a safe place to park the bike, even the drain pipes have crash barriers. So the bike parking has been squeezed in so not to take away any car parking but in the path of turning vehicles & you can clearly see the result of that & definitely can see why the bike I saw is locked to the trolley bay.

More recently a new 3rd store had been opened & I went to see the cycle parking there.

 

 

And to no surprise, there is absolutely no cycle parking at their newest store in Colchester. So that is all 3 stores in Colchester that clearly shows that cyclists are not welcome to shop in these 3 stores & despite that I have complained they still continue with their anti-cycling attitude with their newest store, thus will be why I now no longer shop at Aldi's.

I will now go & shop at Lidl in Colchester instead as they have recently opened their first store in Colchester & they have a lovely cycle parking to use (just like Aldi in London Road used to have).

 


2 comments:

  1. Shopping at Aldi or Lidl does not save you 1/3rd on your bill, except perhaps compared to Waitrose.
    Do like the rest of us on two wheels, and stick to shopping at Asda, Iceland, B&M and on the stalls on the market.

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  2. This fish stinks from the head. Don't they have a sustainability manager? The good people of Aldi really need a lot to learn about sustainable transport. In Cambridge we had a situation where staff placed a large number of shopping carts into the bike parking bays and felt totally OK and justified about it. However, we were able to identify a planning condition on the development, the planner came out, and they had to change it.

    They actually re-fitted the bike racks as shopping cart anchors. The cheek of it!

    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Secure-bicycle-parking-Aldi-s-Histon-Road/story-26685509-detail/story.html

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