HUNDREDS of campaigners are set to go head-to-head with developers over controversial plans for a KFC drive-through and restaurant.

Laindon Holdings launched an appeal after Basildon Council’s cross-party planning committee threw out the latest application for the scheme in High Road, Laindon.

The council will defend its decision in front of a Government planning inspector during a public inquiry on Tuesday, February 10, and Wednesday, February 11.

Laindon Holdings has been fighting for permission for the fast food business since 2012, but faced tough opposition from determined residents who are concerned about noise, traffic, litter and disruption.

Since the appeal was lodged in December, 348 individuals have written letters of objection.

Bob Taylor, 66, of Bedford Road, Laindon, who has led the ongoing campaign against the development, said: “We keep thinking how many times will they carry on trying before they just give up?

“An enormous number of people have written letters of protest, and that shows just how strongly they feel about it.

Thirteen homes are being built on the adjacent site. Can you imagine a KFC being built there next to houses and flats?

Residents wouldn’t be able to open their windows because of the smell.

“We’re not against a KFC in principle, but it’s just not the right location.

“All the local councillors are against it, all the residents are against it, it’s just ridiculous.

They should build it somewhere else where it would be welcomed.”

Laindon Holdings first applied for permission for a 24-hour KFC at the beginning of 2012, but the development was refused after a string of objections.

The proposals resurfaced in November 2012, with revised opening times, and an appeal was lodged after these were turned down. In May 2013, Government planning inspector Isobel McCretton upheld the council’s decision on the grounds the design and appearance of the restaurant was not suitable for the residential area.

But Laindon Holdings refused to go away and in the latest bid earlier this year, increased the height of the proposed building and opted for a traditional brick design.

55 jobs would be created at fast food joint

THE proposed KFC drive-though and restaurant would bring 55 new jobs to Laindon.

Fifteen of these would be fulltime.

Kefco Sales would operate the takeaway on behalf of the national chain.

The franchise has 40 years experience and employs 600 staff members at 17 KFC stores across Essex.

After concerns raised by residents, the opening times of the new application have been changed from 7am until 11pm.

The restaurant would have 80 seats inside, but it is estimated more than 60 per cent of business would be from the drive-through.

KFC and Laindon Holdings insists the concerns of residents have been taken into account, with a different style of building and state-of-the-art systems to eliminate cooking odours.

The fast food chain is also part on a county-wide litter prevention campaign called the Cleaner Essex Group. The High Road site has been empty since the Laindon Hotel, which closed in the late Eighties, was demolished in 1991.

Laindon Holdings claims other sites have been considered, including the Laindon Centre, but are not suitable.