Fast Food Plans Halted

Plans to build a drive-through burger outlet on the former Westgate Road police station site have been unanimously rejected by city councillors.

The plans would have seen a Burger King outlet with sit-down restaurant and drive-through established, along with single person flats, retail and service units and car parking.

The proposals were opposed by nearby local residents who argued that the development would have a negative impact on those living in neighbouring properties. 137 objections and 45 letters of support were received by the Council in relation to the burger drive-through alone.

City planners recommended to the Council’s planning committee that the proposals be rejected.

The development would have “an unacceptable adverse impact on neighbouring residential amenity from noise and disturbance from the premises both in its operation but also with the movement of vehicle and people to and from the premises,” said city planner Stephen Edwards in a report to the committee.

He advised that “the operations of the facilities from 7am to 10pm would cause increased customer numbers into what is essentially a residential area, causing noise and intolerable level of disturbance.”

There were also “major” highway safety concerns around access, increased traffic, limited car parking and vehicle queuing.

Additionally, the design of the burger bar was out of character with the local area and an example of poor, bland, unimaginative, “context-less” design which could only result in an “anywhere-place”.

It ‘failed entirely’ to represent high quality design, as required by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. It did not ‘add to the overall quality of the area’, ‘respond to local character and history’ or demonstrate ‘outstanding or innovative design’.

It was noted that a drive-through burger bar would also lead to increased access by local school children to unhealthy food and have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.

A submission from Northumbria Police expressed concern that the proposals for single person flats would “limit the potential for developing long term residency, encourage a higher than normal level of transience and undermine the opportunities for developing a proper sense of community.”

Despite agents for the applicants, Hadrian Investments Ltd, submitting new plans last week to take account of traffic issue concerns, together with changed proposals for a reduced number of flats and the inclusion of three two-bedroomed ones, councillors voted to deny planning permission for the drive-through and accompanying flats and retail/service units.

Cllr Paula Holland said the local community deserved “much better facilities than something like this.”

GH 18 September 2020