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Competing petitions launched as residents divided over plan for KFC in New Milton's Station Road

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NEW Milton residents are divided over plans to convert a former high street bank into a KFC restaurant and takeaway, with dozens signing petitions for and against.

Fears of increased litter and anti-social behaviour have been raised by those opposing the proposal for the old NatWest building at 59 Station Road, while supporters said it would boost the town’s visitor numbers and trade.

Resident Heidi Down had already launched an online petition, Stop KFC coming to New Milton, which by Monday had collected 173 signatures towards a target of 200.

The restaurant would be based in the old NatWest building on Station Road
The restaurant would be based in the old NatWest building on Station Road

“There is already huge amounts of litter dropped around the skate park, children’s play area and the surrounding areas which comes from the local shops and Subway. Imagine adding KFC wrappers, cups, boxes and bags to that,” she said.

A rival online petition, Give KFC franchise permission for store in New Milton, was then set up by Joe Greg. By Monday, this had collected 114 signatures towards a target of 200.

More than 200 people have so far submitted comments on the application to New Forest District Council, which will make the final decision.

By Monday, 126 of these were in support and 85 were against.

One objecting resident feared an increase in littering as a result of the business opening at that location would drive a local increase in rats.

“New Milton is described as a ‘vibrant town’,” they wrote. “NFDC would be guilty of de-basing the high street if this application were to succeed.”

But one resident in favour of the development wrote: “This is the start of the rejuvenation of our town. We need restaurants and eateries for all ages.”

As reported in the A&T, applicant Caskade Caterers wants to create seating for 48 diners, with the premises being open from 10am to midnight seven days a week. It is also seeking permission for a plant and extraction system and a bin store.

It promised the development at the building, which has remained empty for 42 months, would bring 20 new jobs to the town.

New Milton Town Council’s planning committee last Thursday ruled the application for change of use to a mixed restaurant and hot food takeaway was acceptable “subject to the environmental health officer recommended conditions including the need for a litter management plan”.

The public consultation ends today (Friday), with NFDC’s decision due by Wednesday 15th September.

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