Victory for residents battling plan for 24-hour KFC restaurant in Asda car park at Longwell Green

The planning application was refused by South Gloucestershire Council

A plan to open a 24-hour KFC drive-thru on the car park of Asda at Longwell Green has been refused by community leaders, who said there was no evidence the restaurant would support local town centres.

More than 100 people had objected to the proposed fast food restaurant for the eastern corner of the car park on Craven Way. Concerns ranged from an increase in crime and traffic to obesity with Barrs Court Primary School a stone’s throw away.

However, it was an assessment of alternative sites at nearby town centres which proved the planning application’s downfall, with members of South Gloucestershire Council’s development management committee determining not enough work had been done on it.

Representatives for the applicant Euro Garages had claimed there were no suitable places in Hanham and Kingswood - where it looked at the former Store 21 on Regent Street and former Auto Advantage garage on High Street - for the drive-thru.

But the council’s own officers said no evidence of methodology or sufficient explanation were provided. Under planning policy, the council must take into account protecting town centres when considering any retail application for an out-of-town-site.

And so the planning application was turned down at a meeting last Wednesday (September 16).

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The decision will be welcomed by many in the local area who had written objections to the public authority on the fast food restaurant, which was set to be a single-storey building operating 24 hours a day with 40 members of staff.

Outlined in red - the proposed location for the KFC restaurant at Asda’s car park

Among the objectors was Sharon Green who said the restaurant would lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour and result in more traffic in ‘an already congested area’. Her concern on crime were partly backed up by Avon and Somserset Police which said the site was a hotspot for antisocial behaviour with 113 offences reported in the area over the past year.

Other concerns covered traffic safety. Elizabeth O’Shea wrote that the restaurant would be too close to homes and local schools and could result in an accident involving a child ‘when hungry drivers are looking/eating at their drumsticks and not at the road’.

Alison Fisher said the location of the restaurant next to Barrs Court Nursery and Primary School was wrong. She said: “Whilst I agree people have the right to choose what they eat and about educating the right choices, having something this unhealthy in such close proximity to these places isn’t sending the right message encouraging healthy eating.”

Oldland Parish Council also objected to the proposal on the grounds of increased traffic.

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There were some letters of support.

Hubert Cunnings said: “All these people moaning about the noise from Asda, bought a house near a supermarket, then complaining about the supermarket. It gets my support all day long.”

In a report on its decision, the planning committee said: “Insufficient information and analysis has been provided to demonstrate that no centre or edge of centre sites are available to accommodate the proposed development and that alternative formats have been adequately considered.

“Additionally no evidence has been provided to demonstrate that the proposal would improve the viability and vitality of Hanham and Kingswood town centres.”

The applicant will now decide if to appeal against the decision - if so, a planning inquiry could be held and if the council loses, it could be required to pay the applicant’s costs for the hearing.