PLANS for a 24-hour fast-food drive-through at a town centre petrol station have been refused by New Forest District Council.
Euro Garages Ltd, which owns the Esso garage in Ringwood Road, Totton, applied to extend the forecourt building to incorporate a Burger King ‘food to go’ counter inside.
It also wanted to add a drive-through lane, which would have been accessed from Maynard Road, with customers exiting on to Ringwood Road.
Totton and Eling Town Council recommended refusal amid concerns about traffic, overdevelopment of the site, the number of existing food outlets in the town and the impact on public health.
The district council also received 23 letters of objection from locals citing similar views as well as concerns about litter, noise and antisocial behaviour. The application, which would have created six new jobs, received three letters of support.
The council’s chief planning officer, Claire Upton-Brown, who made the decision to turn down the proposals, said in a report that the scheme was a “poorly designed and intrusive extension to an existing building”.
She added: “Moreover, the loss of important soft landscaping and the creation of a prominent drive through lane would be detrimental to local character and the street scene.”
She also said NFDC had not been satisfied that, due to the “relatively congested” nature of the area, the proposed development would not harm highway safety, given the expected increase in traffic and the new access arrangements.
She also raised concerns that the site was in Air Quality Management Area due to nitrogen dioxide concentrations generated from local traffic.
She added: “The applicant has failed to assess the potential impact on air quality of the development or to demonstrate that the proposal would not result in an unacceptably harmful impact on air quality.”
Cllr David Harrison, who is a town, district and county councillor, welcomed the news that the plans had been refused.
He told the A&T: “Whilst I enjoy a Whopper, I always considered that this was just about one of the worst places that such a facility could be built.
“The area is often choked with traffic and there are serious concerns about air quality. I just don’t think that the district council should be permitting anything in the town centre that might worsen the very serious public health issue of air quality.”
He added: “In rejecting the application, planners have referred to poor and inappropriate design, potential for extra traffic congestion and air quality. I think they could also have referred to another public health issue, the growing problem of obesity.
“I do expect planners to refer all such applications to the director of public Health for Hampshire in future. This wasn’t the case until I raised this with them. I think this is good news for Totton, especially residents who would have been most affected.”