CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a fast food drive-through at one of Havant’s busiest roundabouts have been put on ice.
Councillors decided to delay their decision on whether to grant planning permission to a McDonald’s at Larchwood Avenue, Bedhampton, until further traffic reports are carried out.
After a lengthy debate and arguments both for and against from eight people, members of Havant Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously agreed to postpone the vote.
They made the decision having agreed there are already major congestion problems at the Purbrook roundabout next to the site, and that the application did not present a clear analysis of how a new restaurant would affect this.
During the public meeting last night, committee member Cllr Elaine Shimbart said: ‘I’m all for a new McDonald’s and think it would be a great way of bringing new jobs to the area, but this is the worst possible location for it.
‘It’s right next to a very busy and very dangerous roundabout. Traffic is a real concern there.
‘The last application for a McDonald’s at the site was refused in 2002 because the roads in and out of the site could not cope with the additional demand it would create.
‘Surely it’s common sense to realise traffic has got much worse in the last 10 years.’
Councillors said it is a regular occurrence to see all five roads leading to the roundabout with long queues during peak times.
Figures presented showed that there would be 10 extra cars at this junction every five minutes, should the new eatery be built.
Despite confirmation on these figures from associate transport planner for Hampshire County Council, Graham Wright, committee members were unconvinced they presented a clear picture of the impact on traffic in the area.
This was mainly due to the fact that the five traffic reports presented to the council were carried out by McDonald’s rather than independently.
Committee member Cllr Michael Wilson said: ‘I’m nervous that we don’t have all the necessary traffic information here.
‘I wouldn’t like to throw away the application without having that, but I don’t see how we can pass it without this information.’
Other concerns raised by the committee and those presenting deputations include anti-social behaviour, light pollution and litter problems.
Cllr Ken Smith, Mayor of Havant and ward councillor for Bedhampton, spoke out against the application on behalf of his constituents. After the meeting he said: ‘It’s the best result we could’ve got.’
The new restaurant would create 30 full-time jobs and 50 part-time jobs, and if passed, the firm would have to contribute more than £75,000 towards transport improvements in Havant.
It would also have to install a barrier to stop cars entering the car park after closing hours.