A DRIVE-THROUGH Greggs bakery and café has been given the thumbs-up by Blaenau Gwent councillors – despite concerns that it could cause anti-social behaviour.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday, February 9, councillors discussed the application by Commercial Developments Property Limited to build the Greggs on land next to the KFC restaurant on Waun-y-Pound Road, Ebbw Vale.
The building would have a kitchen area, toilet facilities and dining area to allow customers to eat and drink there.
Further outdoor seating/dining facilities would be provided, along with 14 parking spaces, and planning officer Sophie Godfrey advised councillors to approve the scheme.
At the meeting local resident Diane Brooks spoke against the application.
Mrs Brooks: “We were totally misinformed about KFC moving, and then to find out that a year after taking up residence that there was a planning application for a further drive through, was very distressing.”
Mrs Brooks told councillors that Rentokil had two traps in her garden for “very large rodents” that came from the site.
Mrs Brooks said: “We do have a Wellbeing and Future Generations Act in Wales that talks about health and the health of our children.
“Sometimes we can’t drive into our estate because people are in idling cars waiting to get into KFC.
“Having another one will double the CO2 output – cause asthma, heart disease and lung cancer.”
She added that fast food was also causing: “a type two diabetes epidemic in Wales,” and all these considerations should be “taken into account” when deciding the application.
“If this goes ahead many of us will put our houses for sale and leave the area,” said Mrs Brooks.
Planning agent for the applicant Michael Gray told the councillors that opening the Greggs would create “15 to 20 jobs” for young local people.
Planning development team manager, Steph Hopkins said that she had dealt with the planning application for the Lovells residential development that Mrs Brooks lives on.
Ms Hopkins said: “There was no intention for KFC to relocate – it was assessed with KFC being in its current location in perpetuity.”
Cllr Wayne Hodgins brought up potential issues of “noise and nuisance” from the site as he knew that this happens at similar fast food drive through takeaways.
Cllr Hodgins said: “Is there any room for negotiation regarding the outside seating area to at least give the neighbouring residential properties some quality of life.”
Cllr John Hill believed that Greggs should provide security to deter anti-social behaviours and wanted a condition placed on the planning permission that included this request.
Cllr Hill said: “It’s an ideal location for kids to gather.”
Committee chairwoman, Cllr Lisa Winnett stressed that the discussion should focus on “material planning considerations.”
Ms Hopkins said: “We all realise that McDonalds, Costa, Greggs whatever they are, do attract children and there will always be a risk of anti-social behaviour.
“Hopefully Greggs will be a good business operator and move on anyone who causes anti-social behaviour.
“It is also down to the police.
“We can’t stray into the realms of putting security on the door – we can’t assume that just because this is going to be there it will cause anti-social behaviour.”
Councillors then went to the vote and approved the application.