PLANS to build a new drive-thru KFC and Starbucks at the side of the A55 in Flintshire have been given the green light on appeal.
An application for the fast food and coffee giants to move onto a piece of land next to a branch of McDonald’s at the Singing Kettle services in Lloc, near Holywell, was rejected by councillors in September last year.
It followed concerns being raised about the impact on the surrounding countryside, as well as regarding traffic and parking problems.
Franchise firm Gastronomy Foods later appealed as it said the scheme would result in the creation of 60 jobs and cater to holidaymakers who use the busy expressway to travel along the North Wales coast.
The decision made by Flintshire Council’s planning committee has now been overturned after the inspector appointed to examine the case said it would deliver “significant benefits” for the area.
In his report, Richard Duggan said: “It is clear to me that the level of service areas along the A55 to serve HGVs, tourists and other motorists is low and lacks the quality of facilities that is required on this very busy route.
“The appeal site is clearly already an established service area and as it is visible from the A55 it encourages travellers to utilise its facilities, which has resulted in the site being oversubscribed at peak times, which is compounded by the lack of suitable service areas along the A55.
“The proposed development would meet this demand, as well as providing a much larger area of car parking for visitors which is discussed in more detail below.
“The proposal would also result in approximately 60 new job opportunities, with 40 at the restaurant and 20 new positions at the coffee shop.
“These are significant benefits that weigh heavily in favour of the development.”
Whitford councillor Chris Dolphin was among those who called for the scheme to be rejected ahead of September’s planning meeting.
He said the proposals would harm the surrounding countryside and potentially lead to more collisions on the roads around the site.
However, Mr Duggan highlighted that the company had entered a legal agreement to pay £4,500 to create a traffic regulation order to address some of the issues raised, as well as providing additional parking spaces in the plans.
He said: “I note that the appellant states that the level of parking provision for the appeal development, which would be available to any user of the service area, goes beyond that which would be operationally necessary for the operators of both the restaurant and coffee shop.
“In addition, by providing alternative facilities to the McDonalds restaurant it would also reduce the overtrading of that outlet and reduce parking demand in the area.
“The scheme also proposes four bays specifically for larger vehicles such as motorhomes.”
He added: “I have taken into account the concerns raised by local residents and other interested parties in relation to highway safety.
“However, the evidence before me leads me to conclude that the proposed development would not have an adverse effect on highway safety.”
He concluded that the appeal should be allowed, subject to conditions being attached regarding the road layout and parking arrangements.