Rushden drive-thru plans approved

The new drive- thru and petrol station will be open 24/7.
The new drive- thru and petrol station will be open 24/7.

A new 24-hour drive-thru and food outlet is heading to Rushden.

Councillors on East Northamptonshire Council’s planning committee last night (Jul3) approved the application for a new petrol station and drive-thru food outlet on a patch of land off John Clark Way close to the A6 roundabout.

The facility will be open round the clock and was approved despite an objection from Higham Town Council and councillor Dorothy Maxwell, who represents the Rushden Spender ward.

Both had raised concerns about the health impact of the fast food outlet on children who walk past the site on their way to school. The site is a five-minute walk to The Ferrers School and is also close to Denfield Park Primary School.

At the meeting Cllr Maxwell said: “We have no say about the brand of food outlet and it could for example be McDonald’s. The head teachers of the nearby schools object strongly to this proposal as it will encourage obesity. The air pollution would also be a major problem for both schools. I don’t see an air pollution report from the developers and I think this has to be addressed.”

The application had been heard at the May planning meeting but was deferred for a health impact report and a traffic impact assessment.

The report found that a takeaway venue at the site ‘is unlikely to alter the behaviour and lifestyle choices of people in the vicinity in a way that would be sufficient to impact on the health and wellbeing of local students.”

The traffic survey, which was backed by the highways authority, found there would be no significant impact on traffic levels when the drive-thru opens.

The new report also reduced the number of proposed food outlets from two to one.

There will be at least 39 parking spaces on the site.

Speaking at the meeting, the agent for the applicant said that none of the statutory consultees had objected to the proposal.

Ward councillor Barbara Jenney said most people would have preferred the earlier office proposal for the site, but that has not worked out and there would not be sufficient grounds to refuse the application.

All of the eight councillors on the committee voted in favour of the proposal, which will become home to the fourth petrol station in the town. The plans will come back to the council for further details and Cllr Gill Mercer said the planning authority would be looking for an attractive design as it is positioned at a gateway site to the town.

After the decision, residents Mr and Mrs Elliott, who live opposite the proposed entrance to the new food and petrol pit stop, said they were unhappy.

Mrs Elliott, of Tyne Road, said: “It will have a big impact on my sleep and will also cause a nuisance with kids loitering.

“At the moment we look out on to a lovely patch of grass which has lots of wildlife and is used by dog walkers. But when this opens we will be looking out on to neon lights.

“We don’t need another shop and petrol station, there is an Asda nearby.”

Cllr Maxwell and residents say they will now decide what action they will take to try to alter the all-day opening hours.