Car auction site in Bedford submits application to open until midnight 7 days a week

BCA wants to remove an existing planning condition that limits its opening hours

BCA in Kempston Hardwick
BCA in Kempston Hardwick

A car auction centre has submitted an application so it can open until midnight seven days a week.

BCA has submitted the planning application to remove a planning condition to its site at Kempston Hardwick, Bedford.

Full planning permission for the construction of the motor vehicle auction centre, vehicle storage, parking areas, ancillary buildings and access was granted in November 2003.

But a planning condition limits the hours of operation of the auction facility to between the hours of 10am and 9pm inclusive on Mondays to Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays or on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or Good Friday, or on any other bank holiday without the prior written consent of the local planning authority.

In a cover letter, the agents for BCA said that the company’s operating model has “evolved” since the restriction was originally imposed.

The letter claimed that it is now “critical for the future viability of the site” to extend the hours of operation of the auction facility and transport movements.

BCA’s application is to vary this condition to extend the hours and days of operation to 6am to midnight, seven days a week.

The company’s website says that only one of its 28 sites across the UK is currently open on Sundays (Blackbushe, Camberley – 9am to 5pm).

It also lists the Kempston Hardwick site as being open from 9am until 6pm Monday to Friday, and between 9am and 5pm on Saturdays.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service approached BCA to ask why it advises a 9am opening time if the hours set by the planning condition are 10am until 9pm.

BCA was also asked if it had tried opening until 9pm at the site and why only one site is shown to be open on Sundays.

A statement from the company said: “BCA runs 24/7 digital auctions throughout its nationwide network with customers bidding remotely via BCA Online or the BCA Buyer app.”

A spokesperson for BCA confirmed that it has submitted an application to extend operating hours at the Bedford centre but could not comment further at this time.

The planning application can be viewed on Bedford Borough Council’s planning portal, ref 22/00309/M73.

The overall consultation expiry date is Wednesday, March 16, 2022.