FAST food chains KFC and Greggs’ will not be opening the Forest of Dean’s first proper stand-alone drive-thru as civic chiefs have voted to reject their plans to open in Coleford.
The fried chicken giant and the home of the steak bake were hoping to create a takeaway site on land east of Perrygrove Road on the outskirts of the town.
But the planning application by NNA Limited was turned down today by the Forest of Dean District Council.
Michael Crofts spoke at the development management committee meeting on August 8 on behalf of residents objecting.
He said the scheme would hurt an important wedding venue nearby and said the drive thru would lead to an increase in litter.
Cllr Marilyn Cox, who spoke on behalf of Coleford Town Council, said the area is allocated for employment use but it was not the right use in the right place.
“It is a town centre consideration. This is not the town centre.” She said the town council wants to try and keep Coleford as a “vital and functioning service centre for the town and wider area”.
The planning agent speaking on behalf of the developers said no suitable alternatives were found in and around Coleford.
He said it was a finely balanced recommendation and called on the committee to defer the scheme to allow them to address the planners’ concerns.
“The proposal will deliver significant investment in the town and provide 44 new jobs. Here have been 40 letters of support showing the local level of desire within the town.”
Cllr Clive Elsmore (I, Coleford), who represents the area, said the scheme would affect the town centre.
“All we’ve got is takeaways and hairdressers,” he said. And he raised concerns about traffic congestion and said there are almost 300 lorry journeys through the town every 24 hours.
“All those people that live in Gloucester Road get a bit cheesed off,” he added.
Cllr Jacob Sanders (L, Cinderford West) proposed deferring the proposals to allow the applicant to address the planning officer’s concerns.
But this was rejected by seven votes to four with one abstention.
Cllr Richard Burton (G, Newnham) moved to reject the scheme and this was seconded by Cllr Jackie Dale (G, Pillowell).
He said he totally opposed the development which in his eyes would increase pollution, congestion and climate change. “I don’t see how we can approve this,” he said.
Cllr Clayton Williams (C, Hartpury and Redmarley) said people from Coleford will have to continue to go elsewhere for a KFC or a Greggs.
“We are going to bring 44 jobs here. We’ve got young kids who could earn fairly good money doing this,” he said.
Cllr James Bevan said the proposals were needed for the Forest.
He said: “I feel a bit peeved about it that Coleford Town Council want to point everything into the centre of the town and as Cllr Sanders said, you are just going to cause traffic chaos in the town rather than a bit of traffic on the outside.
“I can’t understand why we are going to turn it down for ecological reasons.” Cllr Dale said the traffic was horrendous going around the bend at the site and called on the committee to vote against the proposals.
But Cllr Julia Gooch (Progressive Independents, Newent and Taynton) said the committee was denying people jobs and was assuming people don’t drive into Coleford.
“The site proposed is walkable and bikeable. This is an opportunity for a site to give people jobs and give people a reason to live for,” she said.
The committee voted to reject the scheme by eight votes to three.