Ferndown residents say council is not listening to them
ALTHOUGH planning permission has already been granted for a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and drive-in takeaway in Ferndown, local people are continuing their opposition.
A group, many of whom live in the adjacent Homelands House apartments - for people over the age of 60 - plan to set up a residents association to address issues they feel will impact on their lives.
While not against progress, the group says it feels East Dorset District Council is determined to turn the town into a seedy, run-down metropolis, full of takeaways, garish advertising hoardings and a mecca for anti-social behaviour.
Permission for the KFC development, which is on the site of the former Volvo garage in Ringwood Road, was granted in June by EDDC's planning committee by seven votes to four with two abstentions.
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Objectors to the proposal had written in to the council before the meeting, expressing concern that the scheme for the 131-seater restaurant would cause congestion as it was close to the Ringwood Road/Victoria Road crossroads, and to a newly constructed puffin crossing.
The application includes 18 on-site parking spaces.
Ferndown Town Council also objected to the proposal on the grounds of road safety, but Dorset County Council's highways department put forward no objections
Spearheading the campaign is Carol Atkins, a residents at Homelands House, who said: "This development will be an accident waiting to happen, and the council will have blood on its hands. The puffin crossing is so close to the traffic lights that traffic will be backing up along the already busy Ringwood Road."
Mrs Atkins added that already residents had to endure the noise of delivery vehicles at nearby shops and pubs, plus glassware smashing into waste trucks.
"Looking at the predicted 'movement' figures for vehicles and pedestrians I can only shudder at the chaos drivers will encounter in trying to negotiate
between two sets of traffic lights, so close together, and
so close to the junction," she added.
Sylvia Boult, also a resident of Homelands House, said she felt the council was more concerned about the cost they would incur of appeals they could lose rather than the effect their decisions have on Ferndown and its residents.
Neil Farmer, strategic director of East Dorset District Council said: "Members of East Dorset District Council's planning committee always take residents' concerns very seriously when making their decisions. In relation to the KFC application, they deferred making their decision until they had spoken to the highway authority, who advised that there were no grounds for refusal.
"As the planning authority, the council must consider all applications on their individual merits. It must act responsibly and only refuse applications where there is sound evidence to do so, and where the law governing the planning process allows."
The residents group held a preliminary meeting last month which was attended by 50 people.
Carol commented: "Everyone at the meeting felt the same dismay and disappointment at the way the council has dismissed the concerns of the people they are supposed to represent."
Future meetings will be open to the public and will be held at the Barrington Centre.
As Ferndown covers such a large area, the group, which will be called East Ferndown Residents Association will be confined to residents of Links, South Links and Central wards.
Anyone interested in joining the association should email firstname.lastname@example.org