MFG’s plans will cause increased congestion and potential littering, said objectors

A drive-thru restaurant has been provisionally approved for MFG’s BP/Budgens forecourt at Worthing despite objections from residents and an MP.

MFG had submitted plans in November for its MRH Brooklands forecourt, on the busy seafront A259 and next to a public carpark. The plan is to extend the existing sales building to accomodate the new food-to-go area.

A rollover car wash will be removed, and there will be provision for two jet washes, and a relocated car care bay. The parking will be reconfigured, and there will be a new bin store and associated works, the planning application states.

It is not clear what restaurant will be at the site, which already houses a Costa Coffee with seating for around 20 people. This area was busier than the attached convenience store when we visited the site on a Sunday morning in April. 

A planning statement submitted by consultancy JMS Planning and Development, said: “It is considered that the application is of significant merit as it upgrades the existing service station facilities on site.”

It added: “The application proposal will enhance the site’s offer, being complementary to the main petrol filling station use utilising hardstanding and developed land and will provide a new ‘food to go’/hot food takeaway offer to meet the expectations of the modern motorist. The proposal is in accordance with policy which recognise that businesses need to be flexible and adaptable, particularly in these uncertain times.”

Local residents objecting to the plans were supported by Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham. They were concerned about air pollution, litter, congestion, and idling engine noise. 

In a letter to the council, Loughton wrote: ”I gather that this stretch of the A259 is the second busiest road in Worthing, second only to the A27, and adding a drive-thru fast-food restaurant can only add considerably to that congestion.

He continued: “Residents in the area are very concerned about the likely impact on litter which is already a problem in the area, as well as cooking smells. The garage is very close to what is otherwise a quiet residential area, and this would be fundamentally changed if such a proposal goes through and the garage becomes a major destination for local people seeking fast food rather than just the passing motorist seeking petrol and a coffee or snack now.”

Despite this, the council has agreed to the application subject to receiving amended plans to provide a roof to the waste storage area. It was also agreed that the applicant must change proposed opening hours to 7am to 10pm. The original proposal was to close at 11pm.

MFG was also required to submit a communication strategy with local residents, including a point of contact if issues arise on site, such as with queued traffic and idling engines.

MFG declined to comment.