Published: 12:48, 30 July 2021
| Updated: 15:02, 30 July 2021
A plan for a town's fourth McDonald's has been resubmitted following extended traffic discussions.
The fast food giant has been eyeing up a new site in Ashford for four years, revealing in October last year that the new branch would open next to the 'Tank Roundabout' on Chart Road if approved.
It would join the town's McDonald's in Eureka Park, the High Street and Orbital Park - the latter being the company's second-busiest drive thru in the world after one in China.
If approved, the firm hopes to open the new branch next year.
This plan, submitted on July 26, is similar in size to a previous application on the site which was withdrawn after a number of consultants raised concerns about the impact on traffic.
The 136-seat restaurant would create more than 65 jobs, but nearby business owner Allan Morris said companies in the area would be "massively inconvenienced".
He continued: "The addition of a McDonald's on this roundabout will bring travel chaos to what is already a very heavily congested intersection.
"This will bring constant trash issues, constant air pollution, and constant noise pollution to the businesses in Bridge Road."
Featuring a drive thru, Mr Morris also feared Chart Road would "become a drag strip for boy-racer types."
The notoriously congested road is intended to be made into a dual carriageway, however the £26m project - funded by Chilmington Green developers - has yet to materialise despite trees being felled in 2018.
A transport assessment on the McDonald's plan highlights this, stating: "This is triggered by the occupation of more than 400 homes at the Chilmington Green site.
"This is expected to occur in 2022/2023 with the highway works completed by 2024."
A supporting statement attached to the application notes the 2020 application was "withdrawn in January 2021 to allow for further highways discussions to be held with Kent County Council."
The transport assessment reads: "Vehicle access to the proposed restaurant would be from a new priority access off Bridge Road 30m to the west of the Carlton Road junction
"The delivery vehicle will access the restaurant via the new access on Bridge Road and utilise the McDonald’s car park to unload."
Including two disabled spots, there is proposed to be 53 spaces as well as 14 cycle parking spots.
The 323-page transport assessment includes two amendments to the 2020 scheme.
One will see the roundabout entrance from Templer Way wider, to which Kent County Council Highways responded: "There is clear evidence of vehicle overrun on the eastern verge and has been for some time, most likely from HGVs on approach to the roundabout.
"Improving the geometry at this location is likely to give some small benefit in terms of capacity and would be viewed as beneficial to safeguard the highway asset from damage from continued vehicle overrun."
But the authority's transport arm said the second change - that of relocating and updating a pedestrian crossing on Chart Road - could "have the greater benefit on the traffic flows on the Tank Roundabout."
By moving it to a more western position, the response says, "will allow the existing two to one lane merge to be pushed further away from the roundabout."
It continued: "Taking account of the updated traffic modelling and queuing figures and when considered in conjunction with the two highway improvements in the vicinity of the proposal site, I can confirm that the highway impact of the proposed drive through restaurant would no longer be considered severe in nature.
"As such, it would not warrant a recommendation of refusal from the local highway authority."