Traffic fears have failed to block proposals to demolish Bangor’s Topps Tiles store to make way for a new KFC drive-through restaurant.
Gastronomy Foods UK Ltd had submitted plans on the existing tile unit on Caernarfon Road, just off the A55 and near the city’s Tesco superstore.
The application stated that 42 full-time jobs would be created with the 246 sq m restaurant open between 8am and 11pm, complementing the already existing KFC restaurant on the city’s high street.
Having been originally submitted in October, Gwynedd Council officers this week approve the plans after no members felt the need to refer it to the planning committee.
The approval came despite the reservations of Bangor City Council who feel it could lead to more traffic in the area.
City councillors, while backing the proposals in principle, stated they had “significant road safety concerns”
In their response to the consultation, they noted: “(The council) does have some concerns about the increased traffic that this application will generate, both to Caernarfon Road, in general, and to the country road that will be used for entry and egress.
“Is it possible to consider an alternative plan for access? This area of the city also suffers with excess waste.
“Can you request that the applicant consider incorporating a system were vehicle registrations numbers are printed on the take-out bags, as has been adopted by some fast food outlets?”
But planning officers highlighted the economic benefits, noting that the 42 jobs being proposed would far outweigh the four currently employed at Topps.
Deducting that the main issue was if there was a need for more hot food facilities in Bangor, officers decided to approve the plans on balance.
Their summing up said: “The evidence submitted with the application from the applicant predicts that the viability of the city centre will not be affected and that the sequential test has confirmed the existence of an alternative site within Bangor that responds to the specific requirements of the national applicant / retailer.
“The location is considered to be in a sustainable location that is accessible for a variety of modes of travel. The existing site is brownfield / previously redeveloped site within the development boundary. It is partly located within the C2 Flood Zone making it unsuitable for more vulnerable uses such as housing.
“The proposal will involve the creation of 42 full-time jobs in addition to the existing workplace within the already established city centre facility.
“In this case, there is no significant policy objection and having considered the application and given full consideration to all material planning considerations (together with the objections), this latest proposal is considered acceptable.”
Gastronomy Foods – a key KFC franchisee – stated that other sites within Bangor were explored but were not proceeded with as they were unsuitable or did not have enough room for a drive-through facility.
The fate of the existing Topps Tiles business has not been made clear, however.
“The national retailer is proposing a ‘drive-thru’ business model at the unit, which will operate alongside their existing non-drive thru outlet in the city centre demonstrating the retailer’s confidence that this unit will not have a negative impact on trade in the city centre,” concluded the supporting documents.