A DEVELOPER behind the controversial planning application for a McDonald’s drive-thru in Bicester has hit back at criticism from council highways officers.
Tesco want to build a two-storey restaurant on 548sqm of space, at land near its Lakeview Drive petrol station.
But officers from Oxfordshire County Council’s highways department, said the fast food restaurant would generate too much extra traffic in an area of the town which already suffers severe congestion at peak times.
The site, off the A41, is a main route into Bicester, access to designer outlet Bicester Village, and Tesco.
It also has planning approval for a business park and a new retail park is due to be built nearby.
OCC raised concerns the restaurant could cause more queuing at the A41 roundabout especially if there is a future increase in traffic at Tesco as the town expands.
A report by Waterman Infrastructure & Environment, on behalf of Tesco, said the most “relevant available data” was used for the traffic assessment and the number of cars using the site was over estimated.
It further said the software used to model traffic in and around the site was not “accurate” and “calculates disproportionate queue lengths”
The report also highlighted research that more people shopped for groceries online so potentially less traffic would use the supermarket.
Posting on social networking site Facebook, Cllr Nicholas Mawer said: “Councillors are not yet involved in the decision process but are watching developments gauging public opinion.
“Oxfordshire County Council does not make the decision, in the end it is the planning committee at Cherwell that will make the decision.”
He went to say it would be wrong to try to predict the decision.
Cllr Mawer added: “Officers at county are trying to make sure that road networks works and would be roundly criticised if there are constant snarl ups because McDonalds bring much more traffic than they predict.”
Proposals for the restaurant, which would create 70 jobs, include a 24/7 drive-thru facility, patio and play area and 25 parking spaces.
The application has had a positive response from many residents who welcome “more amenities”, however others say the town has no need for “further fast food chains” and development could take place in the town centre.
Tesco opened at Lakeview Drive last year after relocating from its site in Pingle Drive thereby enabling Bicester Village to expand into its old site.
As part of the multi-million-pound deal cash has been used to improve the road network in the area.