New Sunderland KFC and Burger King drive-thrus to open on 83-job retail development after plans approved
Fast food giants KFC and Burger King are set to open new branches in Sunderland after councillors approved a new retail development this week.
In recent months, Alisa3 Developments Ltd lodged a bid for vacant land on the former Salterfen Industrial Estate in the Ryhope ward.
The site has been vacant for several years with previous plans ranging from a drive-thru and furniture store to a coffee shop, restaurant and petrol station.
On Monday January 6, city councillors backed new plans for a retail development which is expected to create around 83 jobs.
Plans include two purpose-built drive-thru restaurants on site, three commercial units with retail / cafe uses, parking facilities and a dedicated access from Ryhope Road.
However, the plans were not without controversy, with several letters raising concerns about litter, traffic, highway safety, potential noise and the devaluation of nearby properties.
Council planners, recommending the retail proposals for approval, said the venture would regenerate a vacant parcel of land at a “prominent junction within the city.”
One of the drive-thru lanes was also widened following concerns about queueing traffic spilling out onto the highway at peak times.
At a meeting to decide the application, some members of the council’s area development control sub-committee were divided on the application.
Ryhope ward councillor Steven Bewick raised concerns about traffic disruption and road safety.
He added the plans clashed with a policy in the council’s emerging Core Strategy and Development Plan or ‘local plan’ around promoting healthier communities and tackling childhood obesity.
This included the latest obesity figures for the Ryhope ward exceeding the council’s own guidelines – with 12.5% for reception age children and 21.8% for year six children.
“Taking this into account I think it goes against the healthy lifestyle of what the council is pushing forward and I think it contradicts it on that,” Coun Bewick told the meeting.
Council planners told the meeting the hot food takeaway policy had already been used to resist an original bid for ‘A5’ hot food takeaway uses at three commercial units on the site.
The policy is expected to have more influence over planning applications when the council’s local plan is adopted in coming months.
As KFC and Burger King buildings are classed as mainly ‘A3’ restaurant uses, planners added, the policy wasn’t strong enough to ask for drive-thru elements to be removed.
Sub-committee chairman, Coun Phil Tye, also said it was important to review policies in future to reflect the rise of home delivery services and mobile apps.
“It’s something we need to look at as we have all sorts of sites across the city, it’s turning into something we never imagined,” he told the meeting.
“You can go to the Toby Carvery now and have it delivered. Would we then start saying that’s a takeaway?
“From a policy perspective we need to keep up with the changes of the world as well and I think that is the biggest issue around the [planning] classifications.”
Following discussion, the retail complex was approved by a majority vote of 9-3 with councillors Steven Bewick, Antony Mullen and Martin Haswell voting against.
Burger King and KFC are the only named operators for the retail development so far.
When completed, the complex will open between 7am-11pm, seven days a week.