RESIDENTS say their lives would be ruined if a fast-food giant is allowed to open a drive-thru restaurant just metres from their home.

KFC’s plans were rejected by planners last year but today a planning appeal opened into the proposals, for Ipswich Road, Colchester.

Neighbours told the appeal their quality of life would be hit and also said the traffic created by the development would be dangerous.

They said residents already regularly have to wait up to 15 minutes to get out of their driveways to join the Ipswich Road during morning and evening rush hours.

David Haskell, a spokesman for the residents’ opposition group, said: “It is the human element which is at risk here.

“We're hearing all these facts and figures, but we're missing the point.

“It sounds like you're clutching at straws to prove a point, which is wrong.

“It is us, the residents, who are going to have to live with this and it is our lives which will be affected for the worse.”

Richard Spooner, who lives in Plains Farm Close, opposite the proposed site, added: “I want to live out the rest of my life in my house.

“Every morning I am going to see that development and every single day, I am going to hate it.

“It is out lives this development will change - you have to remember that.”

Martyn Fulcher, a Tendring District Council planner, added even though the fast-food giant had agreed to install an acoustic barrier, the noise created would impinge on residents’ quality of life.

He said: “We are very concerned about the loss of residents' amenities.

“We know people use drive-thrus as meeting points and one barrier will make very little difference to people outside smoking, talking and to car doors closing just centimetres away from residents, who quite rightly will want to enjoy their garden.

“These are things which are sure to happen with a fast-food restaurant.”

But Mark Geddes, a highways expert working for KFC, said the traffic created by the proposed KFC would be comparable to what is made by car show rooms, which are already in place in the area.

Phil Speechley, senior development manager at KFC, added the noise which would be created by the restaurant would fall well below World Health Organisation targets.

The hearing is due to finish tomorrow and a decision is expected within 12 weeks.