CAMPAIGNERS opposed to plans to build a burger bar on one of Camberley's busiest roundabouts are celebrating after councillors threw out the proposals.
The decision by Surrey Heath Council planners to reject the Jolly Farmer roundabout scheme on May 7 met with a round of applause from more than 200 campaigners sitting in on the meeting.
Philip Bulmer, chairman of the Keep Jolly Safe action group, organised a peaceful protest outside the council offices (pictured) before the meeting to show the strength of feeling about Burger King's plans.
The fast food giant submitted two applications to the committee, one with a drive-through sales point and one without.
Councillors refused plans for the drive-through on the grounds of road safety. But the second application proved more difficult as Burger King argued that there used to be a restaurant on the roundabout.
A spokesman for Burger King said at the meeting. "I want to invite the committee to address the planning issues in this case and only the planning issues. It's an application to demolish the restaurant and replace it with another of a similar size."
Mr Bulmer objected by saying: "I have lived right next to this for 30 years. We have 188 signatures on the petition, 468 letters and e-mail, with 80% of those expressing concerns of child safety.
"There is also a similar number who are worried about traffic safety and congestion."
He explained that 50,000 vehicles a day travel around the Jolly Farmer roundabout.
Jerry Oddie, headteacher at Collingwood College, expressed concern for the students at his school and said they could be tempted to cross the busy A30 to buy a burger.
"Children have a belief in their own immortality. Children take risks and we know this very much to our cost. The A30 has claimed three young lives and one of those was a sixth form student.
"All tried to cross the A30 instead of using the bridge, which we try to get pupils to use," he said.
Sgt Paul Warrener spoke on behalf of Camberley police by saying: "The police have objected to this planning application on highway safety. There will be an increase in the volume of traffic at an already busy junction. There is also risk of increased heavy vehicles of up to seven and a half tons."
He voiced worries that the burger bar would encourage people from the town centre late at night. "We do not want to transfer the problems that we get in the town centre to another area of Camberley."
Cllr Vivienne Chapman said: "I have sat on this committee for 17 years and never have I had so much concern about an application.
"If this area isn't a blackspot then it is a potential blackspot.
"Traffic lights are being shot continuously as people do not always know they are there and in rush hour the traffic lights become gridlocked.
"If these plans went ahead it would be an absolute catastrophe."
The Mayor of Surrey Heath, Cllr Ray Christie, added: "This is an unusual case and probably the most unusual case we've ever dealt with.
"We have an existing development in the middle of a highway, which has been there many years. When it was the Mongolian Restaurant there were motorists instead of pedestrians and few would dare venture across the road. This is probably why the pub had to close in the end, because it just wasn't viable."
Members of the committee refused the second application on the grounds of the level of activity the plans would produce, which would have a detrimental effect on the area and the people living locally.
The chairman of the meeting, Cllr Gordon Parris, said afterwards: "The chamber was the fullest I have ever seen it.
"The campaigners were absolutely first class in the way they behaved and conducted themselves."