Developers enter plans for twin fast food restaurants

Motorists could be going from the fast lane to fast food after plans were entered to open twin branches of restaurant giant Burger King on the A11.

Malthurst Ltd has entered plans to Breckland Council that could see two franchises open on either side of the Thetford bypass.

The restaurants - which would also have capacity for drive-through - would sit adjacent to Malthurst's BP petrol stations which already occupy the sites.

A transport assessment by consultants, Transport Potential, states that the restaurant would not have an undue effect on traffic on the bypass.

Despite the area being known as a bottleneck as the road approaches the single-carriageway section of the A11 towards Elveden, the assessment states that the ongoing dualling project should ensure that jams are avoided.

It states: 'West of this site, the A11 suffers congestion at the London Road roundabout adjacent to Sainsbury's supermarket.

'This queue has been a regular feature in Thetford for 15-20 years, however this is likely to be eradicated by the completion of the dual carriageway.'

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Plans for a Morrisons supermarket near to the proposed restaurant sites will also not pose an issue, according to the consultants.

Councillors reacted positively to the news.

Terry Jermy, Norfolk County Councillor for Thetford West, said he thought the plans were a step in the right direction.

'We still need a few details to be announced but that stretch of road has been earmarked for all sorts of things in the past so the fact that we have a hard and fast application is a good thing.

'The only issue we have there is a problem with litter in that area so I would be keen to press the applicants on that point,' he said.

Robert Kybird, a Breckland and Thetford Town councillor, said he expected more projects of a similar nature as the A11 dualling scheme nears completion.

'The growth forecast for traffic is around 20 per cent so I would imagine the developers have spotted that opportunity.

'It would be good if there can be some kind of information at the restaurant and drive-through to encourage drivers to come into Thetford,' he said.

An ecological study also recommended the plans for approval, despite its proximity to the Brecks Special Protection Area (SPA). Building work is prohibited in the SPA due to it being home to a number of rare bird species, including 75 per cent of the UK's population of stone curlew.

The report found that the site would not disrupt the stone curlew, although there would be potential to disturb nightjar and woodlark nesting nearby.

Norfolk Wildlife Services suggested carrying out the bulk of clearance in the winter time, with a further assessment of the area likely to be necessary.

Both sites would be 139 sqm, with 37 seats inside and 28 parking spaces, with two being disabled spaces.

Malthurst's planning application, entered to the council on August 8, does not include details of opening hours, although the service station is already open 24 hours a day.

A spokeswoman for Burger King said it was unable to comment on applications that were still ongoing.

The application is expected to go before the council's planning committee in October.