Published: 11:21, 28 January 2021
| Updated: 11:41, 28 January 2021
Controversial plans for a new McDonald's which critics feared would cause traffic chaos have been dropped.
The fast-food chain wanted to turn a plot of undeveloped land off the notoriously busy Chart Road into a 136-seater site, creating more than 65 jobs.
But the proposal submitted to Ashford Borough Council was withdrawn yesterday - a move which is sure to spark relief among critics who feared the landmark 'tank roundabout' would be unable to cope with extra demand.
When the scheme was lodged, the firm said the development would produce “no material traffic or transportation impacts”, adding “there was no reason why the application should not be recommended for approval on highways grounds”.
But some residents slammed the proposal – with one community group suggesting the long-awaited Chart Road dual carriageway project needed completing first.
If given the green light, the 24-hour restaurant would have opened in 2022, joining other McDonald’s outlets in the high street, Eureka Leisure Park and Orbital Park industrial estate.
The site – which is just 1.2 miles from the Eureka branch – was set to be accessed via Bridge Road, featuring 53 car parking spaces including two disabled bays.
In November, Kent County Council Highways asked McDonald’s bosses to provide more information on the traffic impact, saying the proposal represented an “unacceptable impact on highway capacity at the tank roundabout”.
ADL Traffic and Highways Engineering Ltd, working on behalf of the takeaway giant, compiled a new report that provided further details on the traffic and pedestrian surveys submitted with the application.
It said the proposal would have resulted in a “fairly modest” increase in queues on Chart Road but that “there was no justification this comprised a ‘severe impact’ based on KCC’s own threshold of what it considers acceptable at this junction”.
As a result, it said no mitigation measures were required.
ADL concluded that all “highways issues raised had been addressed and there was no reasonable or justifiable basis for Kent County Council not to recommend the application for approval”.
As part of the plan, McDonald’s bosses were proposing a pedestrian entrance from Carlton Road and an outdoor 4.5m-high children’s play area.
A complex comprising 65 flats will be built on the plot after councillors lauded the promise of affordability.