Letter: KFC plan for New Milton "beggars belief"
SIR – I was interested to read about Heidi Down's online petition to stop KFC coming to New Milton (A&T, 6th August).
It beggars belief that New Forest District Council are considering Caskade Caterers' application for a KFC restaurant and takeaway in the old NatWest building in New Milton, encouraging the consumption of what may, by some, be unhealthy eating.
The argument given is that this will create 20 new jobs and boost the night-time economy. That is highly debatable, and the question should be asked whether we need another fast-food outlet, creating more litter and loitering in the town, due to the youngsters not having enough to occupy themselves.
Perhaps we should be considering more evening activities, like sports on the recreation ground for our bored youngsters.
More importantly, I would like to draw the council's attention to an earlier article written in the A&T, regarding the cost of the NFDC accommodating homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic totalling in excess of £250,000 from March-July 2020.
Cllr Jill Cleary stated that "despite the considerable shortfall to the council's finances" the support would continue. Therefore, why on earth has the council left a building, on a prime site, vacant for 42 months, and not done anything about acquiring it to be converted into small flats for the homeless?
This problem is far more important than improving our night-time economy, at the moment. Surely, a conversion would create more jobs, hopefully with some apprenticeship schemes too.
Councils have been quick enough to include wide open spaces in their Local Plans for housing, so why not include brown field sites like the NatWest building.
Surely the car park at the back of the building could also be used to accommodate residents' parking?
There are endless arguments about turning down Caskade Caterers' application. The council need to listen to their council tax payers first.