By Carl Jackson Friday 02 November 2012 Updated: 02/11 16:13
CAMRA has launched an appeal to save a Bromsgrove pub which is set to be demolished to make way for a drive-thru KFC.
The district council will make a decision on the fate of the Sugarbook in Charford on Monday (November 5) but officers have recommended the pub be bulldozed.
The Bromsgrove and Redditch branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) has submitted a formal objection to the council.
Chairman Paul Richards argued the plans went against Government guidelines to preserve ‘community facilities’, as well as other obligations set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
“Pubs such as the Sugarbrook may not be universally popular, but all pubs can be improved, however once it goes it is gone forever.
“The country is currently losing 12 pubs a week and we cannot allow resources such as the Sugarbrook to fall by the wayside.”
The Sugarbrook currently does not serve real ales, although it does have two installed pumps and, Mr Richards said, the current licensee was open to the possibility.
Council officers said, although losing the pub would be ‘unfortunate’, they did not consider it to be well-valued by the Charford community.
Anita McLaren, headteacher of Charford First School, has also declared an objection to the KFC, as has South Bromsgrove High School head Paul Topping.
Ms McLaren raised fears of increased traffic and litter and Mr Topping expressed concerns a fast-food restaurant could lead pupils away from school grounds at lunchtime, threatening its healthy school status.
Charford councillors Elaine and Sean Shannon have also deemed the site unsuitable for the restaurant.
“It is too close to the primary school, the high school and is also in a residential area.
“There are sites much more suitable in the town centre,” they said.
Officers, however, said a traffic assessment showed there was unlikely to be increased traffic during peak school hours and said it would be difficult to refuse the KFC application because it was close to a school due to a ‘lack of adopted planning policy’.
A KFC spokesperson said: “It’s early days, so we can’t say too much at the moment, but a new restaurant would create 40 career opportunities for the local area and we’re currently working with local authorities on the plans.
“We do not market to children and are continually improving the nutritional profile of our menu, and offer a wide range of portion sizes and lighter options including grilled chicken and salad.
“KFC can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet and the average customer visits us once every four weeks for a treat.”
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