Coleford says no to KFC and Greggs
By Simon Hacker | 14th August 2023
A twin drive-thru that would have brought KFC and Greggs to Coleford has been thrown out by planners – despite the land being allocated to create job opportunities for the Forest of Dean town.
In a planning bid that sharply divided local opinion, the proposal came from Gloucester's Goodrich Avenue-based NNA Limited, which is run by Longhope businessman Gerard Nicholas.
Mr Nicholas already runs ten KFC outlets in Gloucestershire and nearby, his bid garnering an overwhelming balance of letters of support and promising 44 new jobs for the town.
As reported in October 2022 , NNA's bid pointed to "substantial economic benefits" to the town. But the proposed town outskirts location for the twin dining-on-the-move options, on land east of Perrygrove Road, was voted down by the council's latest development management meeting.
The original bid stated: "General data released by KFC has established that during the construction of a typical KFC unit around £2m is generated in direct economic output, along with further indirect economic benefits as a result of those construction operations. These economic benefits will be increased through the construction of the KFC and Greggs units simultaneously."
Despite reservations about chain brands having an impact on local character, NNA's bid met with a broad level of area support.
Coleford resident Luke Simpson told planners: "I think the locals should support Mr Nicholas and his family to get the KFC to Coleford we need to go with the times not be left behind." James Hale added the town was "out-dated" and must "compete with other local towns."
Matthew Ellis added: "It feels as though the Forest is being left behind and needs an update.I believe this venture will not attract customers away from the existing food businesses already in Coleford as these have loyal clientele.
"This would give the local youth somewhere to go and enjoy, particularly as there doesn't seem to be a lot for them to do here. Coleford needs to move with the times and accept that there are many desires and wishes other than keeping the area living in the past.
"Currently, those wanting KFC would need to travel to either Ross or Gloucester which also means driving. Not so great for the environment. This would put Coleford on the map."
But speaking on behalf of concerned neighbours, Michael Crofts voiced fears that the scheme would impact an adjacent wedding venue and cause an increase in litter.
Cllr Marilyn Cox, speaking for Coleford Town Council, voiced fears that the retail ofer would detract from town-centre activity.
She said the bid was "a town centre consideration. This is not the town centre."
The planning agent speaking on behalf of the developers told the committee no suitable alternatives were found in and around Coleford.
He added: "The proposal will deliver significant investment in the town and provide 44 new jobs. Here have been 40 letters of support showing the local level of desire within the town."
Despite a request by the agent for NNA to defer decision pending attempts to address councillors' concerns, a decision to throw the application out was agreed by eight votes to three.
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