New KFC in Billericay High Street looks set for green light

KFC logo and food

Article by Lewis Berrill: Plans to replace a vacant betting shop with a new KFC on Billericay High Street look set to be approved.

The proposals, which KFC says will create approximately 40 jobs – 20 full-time and 20 part-time – will be determined by Basildon Council’s planning committee will meet next Wednesday.

The fried chicken giant has applied to convert the vacant Coral betting shop at 126 High Street and council officers have recommended the plans for approval.

The KFC branch would be open from 11am – 11 pm, seven days a week KFC has said, and six objections have been submitted to the council by residents raising concerns over noise, smell, litter and anti-social behaviour.

Planning drawings show the restaurant area would be at the front of the building, with a kitchen and storage behind.

A seating area and self-service kiosks would be installed under the plans.

“The KFCs in Pitsea and Laindon and on the Mayflower retail estate are chock-a-block,”

said independent councillor Kerry Smith.

"So imagine this one would be very popular too. The prospect of 40 jobs, which will probably be filled by younger people and students, who may be struggling for a few quid, is never a bad thing. It will be a good source of business rates for the council, I would think it would be a positive. For the younger people there isn’t that many different takeaways in the area and a KFC would be just the ticket.”

He added:

“It’s for local councillors to make sure the outside of the restaurant blends in with the older look of the High Street.”

Writing to the council on behalf of KFC, planning consultant Adam Beamish said:

“The proposal would make a positive contribution to the vitality and viability of Billericay town centre by bringing back into active usage a currently vacant commercial premises. Furthermore, the proposals will create a significant number of full-time and part-time jobs and also contribute positively to the night-time economy of the town centre.”

The current building, dating back to the mid-1960s, while located within the Billericay Conservation Area, has been identified as a “negative contribution” due to its design by Essex County Council.

Several conditions have been listed by planning officers for approval to be granted, including a hard deadline of three years for development to be completed and hours of opening restricted to 8am – 11pm – below what KFC has proposed in planning documentation.

Article by Lewis Berrill, The Echo