Kentucky Fried Chicken’s controversial plans to open a drive-thru in the Asda car park at Longwell Green look set to be scuppered.
South Gloucestershire Council’s planning team is recommending that the proposed restaurant and takeaway in the eastern corner of the car park at Craven Way is refused, saying it’s not the right place for a fast food outlet.
There have been more than 100 objections from local residents, including safeguarding concerns from the governors at Barrs Court Primary School which is just across the road. They say building a fast food restaurant so close to a school would be irresponsible and add to already worrying child obesity statistics.
KFC have stated that any advertising would be 200 metres away from any school. However, it has been pointed out by local residents that the primary school would be just 65 metres away.
The governors have shared other concerns raised by local residents about noise, odour, litter, vermin, light pollution, more traffic (and emission levels) and an increase in anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the area.
Meanwhile police concerns about ASB have led to KFC saying they would slash their proposed 24-hour opening to 10am to 11pm.
The council has received 10 comments of support for a KFC including that it would create jobs and would offer a fast food alternative to McDonald’s at nearby Aspects Leisure Park.
Council officers have raised no concerns about noise or odour, nor traffic or parking. Although the glass entrance of the proposed restaurant would face towards the primary school, they say there would not be a loss of privacy or overlooking impact given the tree screening and the separation distance.
Two years ago, the council’s administration agreed to press ahead with a fast food exclusion zone policy within at least 400 metres of any school in the district to help deter children from the temptation of junk food. That policy is still going through the council’s Local Plan process and has not yet been adopted so cannot be taken into consideration with the KFC application.
However, why refusal is being recommended is because planning policy says that opportunities to use suitable town centre or edge-of-centre sites for such a use should be fully explored, and out-of-centre sites only considered where these are not available.
The council’s planning team says “insufficient information and analysis” has been provided to show that no centre or edge-of-centre sites are available for the proposed development.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 16: The plans have now officially been refused by the council.
Police expert flags up area’s ‘substantial crime risk’
The police crime prevention design advisor who studied the plans for the KFC in Asda’s car park highlighted the “substantial crime risk in the area”.
In his report Kevin Wilkinson said: “Over the previous 12-month period within a 500m radius from the site there have been some 321 instances, of which 113 were ASB (anti-social behaviour). Of the crimes in the area discounting the retail theft there were seven offences of robbery, 37 offences of violence against the person, 35 public order offences and 15 offences of criminal damage.”
He welcomed the developer’s security proposals – which included CCTV, no alcohol, intruder and panic alarms and staff being trained in conflict resolution.
But from a community safety aspect he said there were concerns over 24-hour opening. “These concerns revolve around the instance risk and also the vicinity to the other similar premises located close to the site, Aspects Leisure. At this site premises close at 2am, maybe creating a possibility that users of these establishments could move onto the proposed site after this time. extending the time that the local community may be disturbed.”
As a result KFC said they would be prepared to just open from 10am to 11pm.