A 'TERRIBLE' plan to create a drive-thru coffee shop on a city retail park has been thrown out by planners over rats, gulls and boy racers as residents celebrated.

The plan to create a Starbucks drive-thru at the Elgar Retail Park in Blackpole in Worcester was unanimously rejected by Worcester City Council's planning committee on Thursday.

Cllr Jill Desayrah, who had led protests against the scheme on behalf of residents, spoke against the application by retail park owner Legal and General at the meeting at Worcester Guildhall.

The proposal to build the drive-thru, which would have been made from off-white render and timber cladding, was rejected on the basis of 'poor design and layout' which would result in conflict with cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles within the park itself.

Cllr Desayrah, the Labour city councillor for Warndon and Elbury Park, called in the application so it had to be discussed by the committee and also spoke against it, together with one of the scheme's most outspoken critics, resident Matt Brown of nearby Salters Close.

It was revealed that the new business would cost 30 car parking spaces but create 25 jobs.

IMPRESSIONS: An artists' impression of the Starbucks at Elgar Retail Park in Blackpole before it was rejected IMPRESSIONS: An artists' impression of the Starbucks at Elgar Retail Park in Blackpole before it was rejected (Image: Worcester City Council planning documents)

Concerns from residents centred on fears it would attract antisocial behaviour, noise and cause traffic congestion on Blackpole Road and parking problems on nearby residential streets. 

An agent for the applicant spoke in favour of the application. She said: "We considered a number of alternative locations none of which were considered to be preferable, available and suitable.

"The conclusions were accepted by the council and the sequential test has therefore been met. There is no reason to refuse the application on this ground."

Matt Brown, who spoke against the scheme, said the KFC had already caused 'a rapid influx of rats, gulls and foxes feasting on the fast food litter left on the carpark overnight' while 'boy racers were another problem' with 'loud exhausts, screeching tyres and loud music'.

He argued that these problems would only increase if there was a Starbucks, especially as the order point was even closer to residents' homes than the KFC one.

"We don't want to be sat in our gardens listening to coffee orders as this drive thru is much closer to houses," he said.

Cllr Desayrah, speaking after the meeting, said: “I'm absolutely delighted that the planning committee unanimously rejected this terrible plan.

"The evidence that was presented focused on the problems of a drive-in establishment including traffic congestion, air pollution, pedestrian access and the long opening hours.

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"Also litter, gulls and antisocial behaviour were raised as important concerns by various members of the committee.

"I hope that the message will be received loud and clear that County Highways needs to review their traffic assessment methods, rather than relying on out-of-date estimates. Computer modelling can’t give the whole picture.

"This is a win for my residents in more ways than one. Firstly in seeing off this awful proposal and their local engagement. They supplied the photos, videos, sound recordings and evidence that was helped support the decision of the planning committee.

"This result is thanks to them. I also want to extend my particular thanks to local resident Matt Brown who spoke on behalf of his neighbours. He gave a rock-solid speech and answered searching questions from members of the Committee.”