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Second application to turn historic Ewell pub, the Organ and Dragon, into a KFC rejected by councillors
Controversial plans to turn a historic Ewell pub into a KFC restaurant and takeaway have been rejected for a second time, to the delight of "ecstatic" residents.
Epsom Council’s planning committee voted 8-3 to reject a second planning application by the fast-food giant to turn the Organ and Dragon, which was a pub and Thai restaurant in London Road, Ewell, into a KFC.
Councillors rejected KFC’s first application in December after councillors deemed that the proposed development at the junction of London Road and Ewell By-Pass, would have "an adverse impact on the highway’s safety".
KFC is currently appealing that decision.
But its second application, which was recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers and aimed to address highway safety concerns by repositioning the site's existing entrance further along London Road, was again rejected by the majority of councillors, who did not think their original concerns had been adequately addressed.
Residents sitting at the back of the council chamber cheered as the result of the vote was announced and shouted "thank you" to councillors.
Resident Laura Bale spoke against the application before it was debated by councillors.
She said "traffic will increase and the safety of pedestrians will be reduced" by the application and she urged councillors to "preserve your integrity, preserve life".
David Onions, who spoke in favour of the application on behalf of KFC, said traffic and transport concerns had been "vigorously reviewed" in the new application and that KFC’s traffic assessment of the highway had been approved by Surrey County Council.
He said: "A very significant improvement has been made on existing entrance arrangements and any additional traffic will have a less than one per cent impact on existing traffic flows.
"It will be indistinguishable."
Debating the application, Councillor Anna Jones said she did not feel the proposal was "practical".
She said: "My concern is cars turning in and out of the site entrance and exit.
"When cars are turning into the site or waiting to go into the site it’s going to cause a problem behind.
"The situation is exactly the same and it won’t take much to cause a huge problem in the area."
Councillor John Beckett added: "There is potential for traffic congestion on London Road and I still have the same grave concerns from the previous application.
"This application doesn’t explain how those problems are going to be dealt with."
Councillor Ian Booker said insufficient regard had been given to the increase of pedestrians which a KFC would cause.
He said: "I can’t see any mention of pedestrians. They have to cross the road and that will make the situation worse.
"This can’t be a worse development for this site."
But Councillor Sheila Carlson said: "There is an awful lot of traffic here and a steady stream all the time so even if the proposed car park for the application was stuffed full of customers every moment of the day, the traffic movement is negligible."
Speaking after the vote, Elaine Jury, who has led a petition against KFC opening a takeaway, said: "We are ecstatic.
"That’s two applications down now. They will appeal again but bring on the fight. We are really pleased."