REDEVELOPMENT of a service station in Bicester that will create a new fast food restaurant and coffee shop drive-thru is now going ahead despite council criticism that it would result in a ‘cramped, poor quality environment’.

Applicant, Euro Garages, successfully appealed against the decision to refuse permission to refurbish its site.

The applicant wants to knock down the existing Burger King restaurant at the site on Oxford Road and build a new one, as well as a drive-thru Starbucks while keeping its petrol filling station and kiosk.

Last year it submitted proposals for its service station, but Cherwell District Council refused.

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It then made amendments and tried again this year but received the same response.

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However, this time it appealed the decision to The Planning Inspectorate and managed to get its plans approved.

Tom Jeremiah, group planning director at Euro Garages, said: “We are pleased to have been granted planning permission at this site through the planning appeal process.

“Despite Cherwell District Council having refused our original application we remained committed to working closely with them and they subsequently withdrew their objections on highway grounds.

“Whilst the Council retained their objection on the design of our proposals, the Planning Inspector considering our appeal agreed with our position that the proposed development is acceptable visually.”

When considering the application, the council concluded that the development would lead to a ‘cramped’ environment and would 'not positively contribute to the character and appearance of the area’.

It also said there was ‘insufficient provision’ for suitable and safe access for pedestrians and cyclists.

The council believe the proposed Burger King restaurant and drive-thru would be ‘excessively tall’ for a single storey building and that the design and appearance of it would not compliment the Starbucks building.

It also does not like the fact that the back of the Starbucks drive-thru would be facing the main road.

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But the inspector disagreed that this would have a ‘detrimental’ effect on the character and appearance of the area, given the largely commercial context of the site and does not believe it will result in a ‘cramped, poor-quality environment’.

The council was asked whether it agrees with the inspector’s decision and supports the conditions but said it has nothing further to add.

A spokesperson from the council said: “CDC has nothing to add on this application at this stage.”

There are several projects that have been completed recently or that are currently being constructed near the A41 roundabout that Bicester Service Station sits next to, such as the Kingsmere estate, a McDonald’s drive-thru, Bicester Shopping Park and the eco-village.

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Independent councillor John Broad is concerned about the impact the redevelopment of the station will have on traffic.

He said: “It’s getting pretty congested already in this area. Everything is focused on the roundabout and with the proposed buildings being drive-thru restaurants, it will bring more traffic into the area.

“We’re cramming everything in and it’s already a bottleneck – it’ll only get worse once everything is built.”

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Euro Garages will have to meet certain conditions which the inspector has put in place to address the council’s concerns, including safety and accessibility.

For example, conditions regarding the construction of the proposed foot paths, a delivery and servicing plan, a car park management plan and provision of cycle and car parking spaces.

Mr Jeremiah added: “This does mean a lot to me personally as I grew up in Bicester and I know the area well. The site itself is in need of modernisation to compliment the other developments in the immediate area as well as the adjacent Bicester Village designer outlet.

“We look forward to serving our customers at this refreshed site in 2020.”