Northern Ireland

Planning u-turn on KFC drive-through in east Belfast

Plans for a drive-through KFC in east Belfast has been given the go-ahead by the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC).

The application for the site on the Upper Newtownards Road and 1 Knockhill Park was previously turned down by the Department of Environment and Belfast City Council's Town Planning Committee.

PAC Commissioner Pamela O'Donnell said she had granted the appeal but attached 13 conditions to the application.

The decision has been condemned by the east Belfast Alliance MP, Naomi Long.

"I have represented residents' concerns at every stage of this process and I am bitterly disappointed that the Planning Appeals Commissioner has saw fit to overturn a DOE Planning Service decision, supported by Belfast City Council, to refuse what is a completely inappropriate application," she said.

Ms Long said there was "united and widespread opposition" to the opening of a drive-through restaurant on this site.

"Real concerns"

"Such development may be appropriate in a retail park or a motorway services, but it is not appropriate at the corner of a residential street, immediately beside a school," she said.

"I have real concerns for the implications this decision will have on other similar applications in residential neighbourhoods across Northern Ireland."

The Department of the Environment (DOE) consulted Belfast City Council's Town Planning Committee and ruled on 8 October 2009 to refuse the application by Herbal Restaurants Ltd.

This opinion was supported by the town planning committee.

Herbal Restaurants Ltd launched an appeal with the Planning Appeals Commission under Article 33 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991.

The main issues raised in the appeal were whether the proposal would be detrimental to the character of the area and what, if any, impact noise, odour litter and general disturbance would cause to nearby residents.

It also considered whether the design of the proposal was appropriate and respected the local character of the area.

After careful consideration, Pamela O'Donnell ruled that none of these would be affected by granting the appeal.

The site of the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-through has been vacant for over two years. It was formerly a petrol station.