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WINCANTON: Plans for new drive-thru and retail units on A303 services

WINCANTON: Plans for new drive-thru and retail units on A303 services

Image: LDRS

Wincanton residents could be getting another new drive-thru restaurant near the A303 under new plans for one of the town’s largest employment sites.

The Wincanton Gateway services lie off the A371 Lawrence Hill on the outskirts of town, just north of the existing dual carriageway.

The site has already seen significant development over the last few years, with plans for a new McDonalds restaurant being approved back in mid-2020.

Hopkins Estates Ltd. has now submitted plans for a further drive-thru outlet on the last vacant parcel of land within the site.

The services is currently home to a KFC, a Travelodge, the Wagtail pub and the McDonalds, which opened its doors in mid-February.

In addition to the drive-thru, the vacant site will include between four and eight smaller retail units at the eastern edge, with 39 car parking spaces and 18 cycle spaces being provided for staff and customers.

While Hopkins has not confirmed which companies could end up operating either the drive-thru or the retail units, it has hinted at the kinds of brands which it hopes to attract.

A spokesman said: “The proposed tenant for the drive-thru restaurant is not available at this time, and the retail units are designed to be flexible to suit commercial lettings not known at this time.

“While the occupiers of the retail units have not yet been confirmed, a potential mix of suitable occupiers could include a convenience store, Greggs bakers and/ or other food and drink operators.”

Wincanton Town Council has given its backing to the plans, arguing that it would bring jobs to the town and was “a commercial site in need of development”.

Hopkins estimates that at least 19 new jobs will be created – though this could rise to 60 depending on who ends up occupying the retail units.

Highways England – which manages the A303 – said it had no objection to the drive-thru plans, but said future work may be needed to ensure the local road network could cope with additional traffic.

A spokesman said: “Additional development proposals for the Wincanton area identified in the emerging Local Plan review will result in a further increase in traffic movements to and from the A303.

“While we are not recommending an objection to the current application, we do recommend that the emerging Local Plan review gives consideration to the future capacity of the A371/ Dyke’s Way roundabout, and merge/ diverge activity for the A303 to confirm whether existing layouts are appropriate for forecast traffic demand.”

South Somerset District Council approved plans in April for up to 80 homes and employment units to be built on the northern side of the A371, opposite the services and not far from the Dyke’s Way roundabout.

The council is expected to make a decision on the drive-thru plans before the end of the year.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter

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