Plans for a second KFC in a town have been thrown out by council officers after residents and a community leader cried foul over its location near local schools.
Stafford already has a branch of the fried chicken restaurant at The Hough Retail Park on Lichfield Road.
And last year franchisee Gastronomy Foods applied to Stafford Borough Council for permission to open another KFC drive-thru at Beacon Business Park at Weston Road.
Two vacant single storey buildings and a former water tank were set to be demolished to make way for the new 306 sq m restaurant.
But on Friday – almost a year after application was put forward – Stafford Borough Council’s planning officers refused permission.
They said the benefits of a drive-thru restaurant did not justify the loss of protected employment land.
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There were 55 objections submitted by residents to the proposals. They were concerned it would make unhealthy food available to children and that it was too close to nearby schools.
Concerns were also raised it would reduce safeguarding and security of children and create a highway danger for school pupils, as well as litter, noise, odours and pollution.
Ward councillor Frances Beatty called in the application for consideration by the planning committee for members to assess whether it is appropriate for a hot food takeaway to be established dead opposite a secondary school – Weston Road Academy – within clear view of the classroom windows and within metres of a primary school – Veritas.
She also questioned ‘whether approval would be in line with government guidelines on proximity of fast food outlets to schools; whether there is an added danger of children crossing the road to buy fast food (and) whether a health impact assessment should be undertaken to accompany this application’.
Councillor Beatty’s call-in request, made before the planning officers recommended refusing permission for the new restaurant, was later withdrawn.
But there was a letter of support of the restaurant submitted to the council, the officers’ report said.
It added the applicant had stated the site had been actively marketed since the expansion site was approved in 2012 but no Class B employment uses had come forward in that time.
“The restaurant would employ 40-50 members of staff – and that is on par with several warehouse operators and other B uses, so it should be considered as an employment generating use.
“A document was submitted which included most of Forward Planning’s suggested sites and several others for consideration. It indicated that there was no other available site that suited the client’s business model, or it is not currently available.
“The applicants have opted against a town centre development as the town centre is simply not an option due to its close proximity to the KFC at The Hough Retail Park and KFC rarely operate in town centres other than food courts or in towns with far greater populations like Derby and Nottingham.
“The applicants believe that there is growth in Stafford and the greater facilities here will prevent unnecessary traffic journeys across town.”
The applicant also stated that ‘KFC is seen more as a destination restaurant than fast food takeaway and offers healthy choices on their menu’, the report said, and ‘it is working towards a 20 per cent reduction in calories per serving by 2025’.
There are already several premises available in the area to purchase food, it was stated, including Costa Coffee, a chip shop, a Subway branch and Co-op supermarket, all within a similar proximity to the school.