Kentish Express Ashford & District
‘WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER KFC!’
Plans approved for town’s fourth restaurant
Ashford is to get a fourth KFC outlet – despite claims the new restaurant is “exactly what the town doesn’t need”.
The fast-food chain has been given the green light for a new unit on Waterbrook Park in Sevington, just off the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road.
But residents fear the area will become blighted by rubbish as a result of the development – with one saying it has only added to her desire to move away from the town.
Planning officers at Ashford Borough Council (ABC) approved the scheme last month, but had raised concerns over the look of the building, which is to be built on a brownfield site close to the Ashford International Truckstop.
They asked whether KFC could add green walls to improve the design, but the takeaway giant said it could not accept the suggested changes due to “branding and the commercial realities of operating a drive-thru”.
Outline planning permission had already been granted in 2019, but the detailed ‘reserved matters’ application was what officers rubber-stamped last month.
In a comment opposing the scheme, East Brabourne resident Andrew Burgess said “there is no conceivable need for another KFC”, which will join existing outlets in the Lower High Street, Beaver Road and on the Eureka Leisure Park.
“It’s exactly what Ashford does not need,” he said.
“At a time when people are being urged to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles, a fourth KFC that customers will have to drive to would counter all current social and health policy and advice.
“The outlet will also generate more litter in the town and the surrounding countryside, that is already a major problem and getting worse.”
While Finberry resident Riaan Taljaard disagreed – describing the restaurant as a “good idea and an asset” – Rosemary Sutton shared Mr Burgess’ concerns over litter.
She said: “I live on Finberry and can already see the lighting from Waterbrook from my kitchen window every evening; I don’t relish the prospect of the additional impact to advertise a new fast-food outlet.
“All this does is add grist to the mill of my desire to move away from Ashford. I’ve been a resident for 22 years, so not exactly a fly-by-night ‘newbie’.
“Along with the lorry park development that landed without choice, this fills me with disappointment and a desire to go.”
Once open, the new KFC will have indoor and outdoor seating, as well as 42 car parking spaces.
A drive-thru service will also be offered, with a 10-metre steel sign erected at ron o unit, which wil be constructed close to a yet-to e-built warehouse linked to Amazon.
Bosses say driv s will access the site from th oundabout connecting Wa ook Avenue to Arrowhead Road, while standard KFC ru h bins are set to be install d for the “safe disposal of pack ging”.
But another Finberry resident – Samuel Bu of Swithun Road – says his concern is the environmen impact.
“A major issue with any fastfood restauran especially a drive-thru) is w te food packaging left behind by individuals who find it incre ngly difficult to simply bin th waste,” he said.
“If we look cDonald’s, which is based on the Orbital Park, it encoura waste packaging, which isn correctly disposed of.
“I have proof that some people prefer to take their fastfood away from the McDonald’s car park and park up on the entrance/exit to Finberry.
“The residents of Finberry have to continuously pick waste food packaging up on a daily basis, which is completely unfair.”
In a report confirming the scheme’s approval, ABC plann ng o cer es sa Finberry residents “would not bedirectlyaffectedorsufferany significant amenity loss”.
He added: “With regards to the green roof proposal, while from a construction point of view this is achievable, the increased costs would make it commercially unviable.
“The overall corporate design of these drive-thrus is very strict with very limited scope to make changes to the external appearance, and to date, in the UK at least, none of its outlets have living walls or green roofs.
“On balance, and in the context of this particular unit and the scale and visual impact of the proposed building, I do not consider the current design is objectionable without such changes.”
Mr Davies confirmed neither Highways England or Kent County Council had raised any concerns over the traffic impact of the scheme.
‘All this does is add grist to the mill of my desire to move away from Ashford’