Published: 13:49, 20 November 2020
| Updated: 13:51, 20 November 2020
A controversial bid to open a drive-thru Costa opposite a McDonald’s and KFC in Whitstable is back on the table.
It failed two years ago with a similar application after the plans sparked criticism from residents living nearby.
And those same fears have now resurfaced, with the revised proposals igniting concerns over increased litter, “unbearable” traffic, noise and smell.
But the applicants - who already sell takeaway Costa coffee within the garage - say the new-build will bring “significant merit” to the local area and stress there will be “no adverse impacts”.
Nine jobs are forecast to be created as a result of the new business, which will offer a sit-down service inside.
“Many of these jobs will be suitable for local residents, particularly residents who wish to be flexible in the hours they work,” they say.
“Coffee shops are becoming a more and more important part of service centres, meeting the needs of road users.
“It is important that adequate facilities are provided for road users to ensure that their basic needs are met and enable them to comfortably and safely continue their journeys.”
Should the scheme be approved, the coffee shop, which will have 28 parking spaces, is set to be open from 5am until 11pm seven days a week.
Those same opening hours were a cause for concern with planning officers who previously refused the project. They claimed the timings would have an unacceptable impact on those living in neighbouring Maydowns Road.
The Maydowns Road Residents Association has raised fears over the development, while fellow critic Richard Macey said: “The surrounding area already has a multitude of hospitality venues.
“The opening times are 5am to 11pm; by the time it closes we will barely get four hours sleep.”
His views are echoed by Kathleen Taylor, who said: “Traffic issues are very worrying. The roundabout is already dangerous - traffic is very busy at most times and adding more is quite unacceptable.”
Carol Davies added: “The traffic is already very heavy on the roundabout and when I exit my road it is already a problem and I have to wait until someone lets me out. This will make it unbearable.
“This will decrease the value of our properties; nobody wants to live near a busy commercial property.”
As part of the proposals, the hand car wash which currently operates from behind the petrol station is planned to be removed and replaced with two jet washes - a move some residents fear will cause nuisance noise.
The developers say they are “committed to tackling litter” and will ensure daily patrols are carried out to collect rubbish.
They also believe it will generate a negligible number of new vehicle trips.
One of the reasons behind the refusal of the original scheme was over the diversion of an existing public footpath.
The applicants say the revised scheme ensures the path will not be affected, and proposes lining it with timber edges and surfacing the route with bark chippings.
They also stress that there will be no adverse noise created from the coffee shop which will damages neighbours’ quality of life.