Plans for KFC and Starbucks Drive-Thru Restaurants in Newport Rejected by City Council
Plans for new KFC and Starbucks drive-thru restaurants in Newport have been rejected by the city council.
A majority of councillors agreed with planning officers’ recommendations to refuse the bid for the redevelopment of land off Albany Street, in the Shaftesbury ward.
But there was support for the general revamp of the area, which was likened to a “desert island” by one local councillor.
Steve Constance, of Thames Valley Construction & Civil Engineering Ltd, had applied for planning permission to develop a piece of land between the River Usk and the neighbourhood’s Sainsbury’s supermarket.
Jon Hurley, from agents Asbri Planning, told Newport City Council’s planning committee on Wednesday December 6 the development would bring “significant benefits” to the area, including dozens of new jobs “for local people”.
The drive-thru restaurants would sit alongside two new and “modern” industrial units, and would “complement” the nearby Sainsbury’s supermarket, as well as a new Aldi which was approved by the committee earlier in 2023.
Referencing that Aldi decision, he urged councillors to take a “consistent approach” and approve the new application.
But planning officer Joanne Davidson, the council’s east area development manager, said the proposed drive-thru project raised concerns around retail need, flood risk, and biodiversity.
She admitted it would be “foolish to deny the attraction of drive-thrus”, because “people want fast food faster”.
But she said the application “failed” to satisfy national and local planning guidance around protecting town and city centres, and a “need has not been established” for the KFC and Starbucks units in that particular part of the city.
Both firms have other locations in Newport, including in the city centre.
Ms Davidson also said officers considered the application to be “overdeveloped”, and the council’s own highways department did “not consider the site appropriate or safe” under the submitted plans.
She added that Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Welsh Government-sponsored environmental agency, had objected to the drive-thru plans because of flood risk in the area.
The application received seven objections from neighbours, and at the committee meeting, local resident Tony Lawrence told councillors he feared the new drive-thrus would “make matters worse” for a community already affected by “boy racers” speeding along the roads and treating Albany Street “as Brands Hatch rather than a 20mph zone”.
Ward councillor Paul Cockeram, speaking in support of the application, said the drive-thru plan would “somewhat improve” the immediate area, which he described as a “desert island” populated by “scrap cars full of junk”.
He also questioned why flooding was a concern when NRW recently “gave £30 million” for the area’s flood defences.
Ms Davidson told the committee NRW had stated “defence works are to protect existing developments”.
“They are not there to open the door to new developments,” she added.
In a written submission, ward councillor David Fouweather supported the application, saying “like the Aldi application it has many benefits for the community and will enhance the street scene and overall wellbeing of the area”.
Committee member Jason Jordan told colleagues the application site was “a very deprived area and it needs some development”.
Six members of the planning committee voted to refuse the application, with two in opposition.
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