Pizza bot

11 Dec 2023

Here at the blog we do enjoy a novelty and so our attention was naturally caught by a proposal for an “automated robotic pizza vending machine” no less! We had to find out more.

It turned out that the machine had already been installed and the inspector was able to experience it first-hand. He described it as having a white painted, utilitarian, shipping-container appearance, incongruous in the street scene and the setting of buildings of local interest. Disappointingly though, there is no mention  of whether he tried out the full experience of buying a pizza from the machine.  

Located not quite where you might expect, the vending machine had been positioned on the forecourt of a modern office block with no pizza restaurant in sight. A quick bit of research revealed such vending machines contain a convection oven to cook your selected chilled pizza inside its box, a robotic arm picking it from a rack and then delivering it through a slot when cooked. Unsurprisingly pizza vending machines are already common-place across the pond and a few have already arrived in this country. Not sure they will catch on in Italy, the home of pizza, though.

The 24-hour vending machine was sited in a relatively busy seafront area with various  commercial premises in the locality and passing vehicles on the main coast road. However, given the number of residential properties in the surrounding area, the inspector’s concern focused on the effect on living conditions. Judging that the area would fall quieter at night, he considered that customers waiting for their pizzas could result in significant noise disturbance at unsocial hours. 

The appellant, a small, independent start-up company, sought a temporary one-year  permission to allow the innovative project to be tested but the inspector rejected this suggestion. In his view, whilst the expansion of the fledgling company would support  employment, the vitality of the town and contribute to its night-time and visitor economy,  the benefits were too small-scale to outweigh the identified harm (400-043-405).  

More discussion of pavement shops and retail pods can be found in DCP 13.333, and the effect on residential amenity of noise and disturbance associated with takeaways is an issue considered in DCP 16.234.