KFC will appeal Rushmoor Borough Council’s decision to reject its drive-through plans for Aldershot.
The proposals for a restaurant in North Close, off North Lane, were unanimously turned down at last week’s development control committee due to the site being seen as important for industrial employment.
But a separate application for totem signs, menus and advertising banners was approved, despite protests from committee members who described granting the permission as a ‘pointless exercise’.
A number of councillors attempted to have the menu application thrown out, but no reasons relating to planning policy could be found to refuse it and KFC is now free to erect them if it wishes, despite the lack of an accompanying restaurant. The permission would cease if the land were to be purchased by another company or individual.
Initially, voting for the application was tied at three each way, prompting a discussion on whether it was right to consider approving the redundant signs at all. Members were encouraged to vote as they would had the restaurant been approved.
Cllr Brian Parker said: “It’s a pointless exercise. I fail to see how we can blank the rejection of the drive-through from our minds.”
And Cllr Jennifer Evans asked if the decision could be deferred, given the uncertainty over the restaurant, but was told this was not an option.
Cllr Rod Cooper suggested the council consult with KFC to see if they wished to withdraw the second application, but, with this idea also rejected, eventually a re-vote was taken. This time the application was approved, with only two votes against, but a small number of abstentions remained.
Earlier in the evening, members had voted against the drive-through plans, with councillors saying the land should not be used to accommodate ‘yet another take-away selling hydrogenated food products’.
A number of neighbours had complained about the increased litter, noise, traffic and delivery lorry movements the restaurant would create.
KFC senior development manager Phil Speechley spoke in favour of the application, saying the company had consulted with the community and received positive feedback about the 50 new jobs it would create.
He also said the company was willing to make a required financial contribution to transport projects, which was also thought to be an obstacle to gaining permission.
Following the council’s decision, a KFC spokesman said: “We were obviously disappointed that our planning application for the Aldershot site was rejected as we believe that KFC would be a positive addition to the community, with the potential to create significantly more career opportunities than an alternative industrial use on the land.
“We will be submitting an appeal which addresses the concerns raised by Rushmoor Borough Council and hope to have some good news soon.”