Plans for new drive-through next to A41 rejected

Plans for a new drive-thru restaurant and coffee shop in Shropshire have been turned down due to being classed as being in a rural location.

The drive-thrus were planned next to The Three Fishes pub on the A41. Photo: Google
The drive-thrus were planned next to The Three Fishes pub on the A41. Photo: Google

EG Group Ltd applied to build two driver-thru "pods" on the east side of the A41 in Newport, just south of The Three Fishes Beefeater pub.

The planned site was between the Premier Inn hotel and the Aqualate Golf Course.

The company’s planning agent argued the one-acre site “formed a part of the site of the Mere Park Garden Centre”, so should not be subject to the restrictive planning rules that apply to completely undeveloped and unused greenfield sites.

But, in a report explaining their refusal, Telford and Wrekin planning officers said the site counts as a rural location despite its “visual relationship with the built-up area”.

Development there has to “diversify the rural economy nor sustain and address the needs of rural communities”, they said, adding that EG Group’s plans did not.

Bruce Risk of Walshingham Planning Ltd wrote that his client, which is also known as Euro Garages Ltd, is “one of the most recognisable roadside service providers”.

Blueprints provided to the council showed the site’s two single-storey stores create 23 full-time equivalent jobs and be served by 35 customer car parking spaces, five staff spaces and cycle parking.

Mr Risk wrote that the site “previously formed a part of the site of the Mere Park Garden Centre and other uses [sic] and it should be considered in this context rather than as a new development in the countryside”.

But in their report, council officers said: “The development site falls outside the built-up area of the borough and within the authority’s rural area, with neighbouring market town Newport separated from the site by the A41.

“The site is greenfield land as part of the rural area, and not redundant or underutilised land as advised by the applicant.

“Whilst the site has a visual relationship with the built-up area of Newport and sits to the south of existing development, the site needs to comply with the rural policies.”

They said the plans violate two policies which require rural development to “address the needs of rural communities” and be placed on “previously developed land and settlements with good infrastructure” in the first instance.

“The scheme would not diversify the rural economy nor sustain and address the needs of rural communities,” officers wrote.

“The scheme simply provides a drive-through offering for motorists within greenfield, rural land, without first exploring previously-developed land or potential sites within the built-up area.”

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