CONTROVERSIAL plans to open Colchester’s fifth McDonald’s at a busy retail park have been approved, despite a last gasp bid to scupper the plans from a neighbouring store.

Despite more than 230 objections being submitted, including from retailer Dunelm, Colchester Council’s planning committee voted to approve Schroder UK Real Estate Fund’s plans to create the new drive-thru at the Turner Rise Retail Park, in Petrolea Close.

Objection came from dozens of residents, ward councillors and from homeware retailer Dunelm, which is based at the retail park.

Resident Richard Chandler, who lives off nearby Northern Approach, spoke out against the plans.

He said: “I am speaking on behalf of a large number of residents who object to the introduction of another McDonald’s which would mean Colchester would have five, but more specifically in the proposed area there are three different McDonald’s already located within 1.3 miles of my home.

“In busy periods the junctions around the train station and entrance and exit of the retail park are very congested already.

“On a Saturday for example it is not unusual for it to take anywhere from an hour to two hours to get into or out of the retail park.

“All of this is without considering the other impacts on the area on litter and parking and other objections around obesity rates and noise.”

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Ward councillors Martin Goss and David King (Lib Dem, Mile End) both spoke in opposition to the plans.

Mr Goss said it was “simply the wrong location for McDonald’s number five in Colchester”.

He added: “Only two days ago Dunelm objected and cited the same reasons I have cited and many residents have cited.

Franchisee Craig Newnes said: “I employ 935 people across my nine restaurants. The addition of this restaurant would allow me to provide at least 85 new job opportunities for local people.

“I’m committed to making Colchester a better place to live and do business.”

Committee member Mike Lilley said councillors had been backed into a corner with the application.

He said: “Highways have said the application will lead to more traffic in the area but they do not object to it.

“This leaves us, once again, in a terrible position.”

Councillors voted to approve the plans by six votes to two.