Developer backs down to people power over plans for fast food

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a drive-through KFC next to a retirement complex have been dropped after huge opposition from residents.

Developers wanted to build the burger outlet, along with a 63-bedroom Travelodge hotel, on a derelict industrial site in London Road, Waterlooville.

But pensioners in nearby Homewater House complained in their droves about the possible smell and noise nuisance coming from the fast-food chain.

REL Capital has now withdrawn the 7m scheme after saying it had 'recognised the concerns of residents'.

The developer hopes to re-submit a planning application for the hotel next year, but with a day nursery rather than a drive-through.

Daphne Reeve, 83, who lives in Homewater House, said: 'We are delighted really.

'We are pleased as it was not so much the hotel that was the problem, it was the drive-through. It was going to be so close to the people living in the flats.'

Andy Scott, managing director of REL Capital, said the residents' objections, as well as feedback from planners at Havant Borough Council, led to a rethink.

Mr Scott, who grew up in Horndean, said: 'Havant Borough Council were going to turn the application down on the basis that the town centre in Waterlooville is dying. And therefore they want to see all new development in the town centre.

'I had argued strongly that if we were building a retail scheme that we would look to the town centre. But hotels need prominent roadside locations with parking and there are no sites in the town centre.

'It is all very well for planners to want this, but developers can only build schemes where operators want to go. That is the only site in Waterlooville of interest to them.'

If the hotel scheme is approved, it would create up to 80 new jobs.

He added: 'I think it is important to remember they (residents] have been living next to a busy builders' yard for many years and I genuinely do hope when we do get an approved hotel scheme whatever the ground floor use, it will be an improvement for neighbours than living next to a derelict industrial site.'

But Waterlooville Councillor Ray Bastin said he will continue to fight against the plans.

'Personally I would still be against a hotel there,' he said.

'It's the wrong place for a hotel even if they don't have any restaurant. The traffic is still going to be immense.

'If it was not for the fact it was retirement apartments the whole situation might be different.

'I think everybody should put themselves in the position of very elderly people having sold everything they have got to live in a retirement apartment. They want peace, quiet and good living.'