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Major new service station set for backing

Friday, November 22nd, 2019 7:12am

By Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporting Service

It includes a McDonald's drive-thru and petrol station

Planning officers have said they’re ‘lovin it’ over plans for a new drive-thru McDonalds in East Devon as part of a huge new service station development.

The fast food giant could open in the region as part of a scheme that would also see a roadside service and petrol station built next to the A30.

Plans for the site at Straightway Head Junction, next to the Daisymount roundabout, near Ottery St Mary, include:

  • A petrol filling station with five pumps
  • A forecourt shop/sales building measuring 500 sqm located in the centre of the site comprising a sales area, a hot food and coffee outlet.
  • A total of 103 car parking spaces, including 81 light vehicle spaces, 4 disabled spaces, 10 motorcycle spaces, 8 HGV/coach spaces and two electric vehicle charging points
  • A two storey building with accompanying drive-thru and associated outdoor play area. The applicant has stated that McDonalds is the intended operator

East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee, when they meet on Tuesday, December 3, are recommended that subject to a Habitat Regulations Appropriate Assessment being adopted, they should approve the scheme.

Recommending approval, the report of planners says: “The proposal has the support of Highways England who have advised that there is a need for a comprehensive service area facility on the A30/A3030 in Devon and that they support the principle of the proposal of a Trunk Road Service Area at this location. Furthermore, Highways England have advised that the roadside services scheme is in compliance the current policies.

“The proposed design and layout of the development would create a landmark roadside services scheme alongside the A30 that would meet an established need and perform an important road safety function by providing opportunities for the travelling public to stop and take a break by closing the existing gap in the provision of roadside facilities along this section of the A30.

“The site is considered to be well located in terms of providing an additional roadside service facility to perform the required road safety function which, when coupled with job creation during construction, longer term employment opportunities within the petrol filling station, shop and the drive through building and the contribution to the local economy that would be derived from this scheme are considered to be significant social and economic benefits that outweigh the limited and localised visual impact and landscape harm.”

The scheme has drawn support from Ottery St Mary parish council, but West Hill parish council unanimously opposed the plans, while Whimple parish council said that they could not support the scheme if the food outlet was open 24 hours-a-day.

Cllr Jess Bailey, who represents the West Hill and Aylesbeare Ward, has also opposed the scheme, saying that she is astonished that with the backdrop of a climate change and ecological emergency, council officers are supporting the development of a petrol station and two storey McDonalds drive-thru on top of a very large hill.

But officers have said that the drive-through wouldn’t have such a large visual impact that it would be so harmful as to refuse planning permission and that this scheme is a much better one that an historic plan for the site that is considered to have been implemented.

Permission has been previously granted to build a roadside service area at the site, and the principle of development has been confirmed, and following the construction of the vehicular access to the site, officers are of the opinion that the works to the access have represented a meaningful commencement of the application and so that scheme could be implemented now if the applicants wish.

The report adds: “This proposal is for a policy compliant roadside services development on a site where the need has long been accepted and where the principle of development has been established through the grant of outline planning permissions since 1994 and the implementation of a reserved matters permission.

“While the weight that should be attributed to this ‘fall-back’ position is questionable given the length of time the planning permission has been kept alive with no further development on the site, coupled with concerns about whether the previously consented scheme is commercially viable, it is accepted that there is an extant planning permission for a substantially larger scheme on the site which would have a far greater impact than the proposed roadside services.

“The proposal has the support of Highways England who have advised that there is a need for a comprehensive service area facility on the A30/A3030 in Devon and that they support the principle of the proposal of a Trunk Road Service Area at this location.

“The long term employment opportunities within the petrol filling station, shop and the drive through building and the contribution to the local economy that would be derived from this scheme are considered to be significant social and economic benefits that outweigh the limited and localised visual impact and landscape harm.”

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