There have been claims of Ocado delivery cancellations across North Hampshire following a fire at the company's depot in Kent.

A fire broke out at around 12:40pm on Friday, July 16 at the company’s customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Erith, with up to 15 fire engines working throughout the night to bring the fire under control and dampen it down. Following the incident, thousands of orders which were due to be delivered from the site were cancelled following “disruption to operations”.

This has allegedly affected supplies from the Erith depot to Andover’s fulfilment centre, which services areas across north Hampshire including Basingstoke. Customers from around Hampshire have complained of cancelled deliveries online.

Ocado did not respond to a request for comment, but has posted on social media to say they “will be in touch” with affected customers.

The fire at Erith is currently believed to have been caused by the collision of three robots at the depot, resulting in a fire. In this instance, Ocado said in a statement that a quick response and the activation of the sprinkler system meant that “the vast majority of the CFC is in good condition.”

They said: “While we expect some disruption to operations, we are working to restore normal service as soon as possible. We expect the facility to begin operating within the coming week and thank customers whose orders are affected for their patience.”

The incident is similar to that which affected Andover’s CFC, where the distribution centre was destroyed in a “devastating” fire on February 5, 2019 following an electrical fault in a robot’s charging unit set alight a plastic lid, with the fire subsequently spreading to the rest of the facility.

A subsequent report from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said that staff at the site “turned off” the sprinkler system for five minutes while trying to deal with the fire, leading to “significant” fire growth.

Firefighters fought for days to bring the blaze under control, bringing in units from a number of counties. They eventually handed back control of the site on February 8, with the building gutted by the flames.

In light of the fire, Ocado confirmed its commitment to Andover, and promised to build a “state-of-the-art replacement” in place of the destroyed CFC. The fire cost the company £110.3 million, and a number of staff were made redundant in the months following the fire.

The company applied to build a temporary facility at the site, which allowed it to continue at two thirds of its capacity while the reconstruction took place.

Planning permission for the rebuilt site was granted in February 2020, including offices, a service yard and car park to go alongside the facility, with up to 1,700 people to be employed at the site.

They have since begun reopening the new site in stages, with a full reopening planned for the autumn.