A controversial fried chicken shop has finally opened its doors across from a primary school – and the discussion about its pros and cons for the local area don't seem to be fading soon.
A new KFC opened its doors in Buckshaw Village today after months of toing-and-froing between politicians, residents, and the food outlet.
The restaurant off Buckshaw Avenue in Barnes Wallis Way, which was given the green light by Chorley Council last March despite more than 40 objections, has been criticised for being within walking distance of Trinity CE Methodist Primary School.
Chorley and Lancashire County Coun Mark Perks, who represents Buckshaw, previously said it “isn’t appropriate” to have a fast food outlet across from a school, adding it is “encouraging people to eat unhealthily”.
Speaking today, County Coun Perks added: “Those who welcome the takeaway to the village clearly do not live next to it or show respect towards those residents that do.”
Chorley Coun Matthew Lynch, who represents Astley and Buckshaw, acknowledged issues residents have with the franchise being across from the school, but said parents must play their part in educating youngsters.
Coun Lynch said: “For me, while it is across from a primary school, there is a lot of parental responsibility. It will be parents taking children to KFC.
“The amount of primary school children going there on their own will be minor. It’s down to getting an education – a healthy education – and parental responsibility.”
Coun Lynch added that to exclude the business on grounds of location could be a dangerous precedent for other businesses only metres away.
He explained: “I don’t doubt that 11 or 12-year-olds will go at the weekend if they have the money to go and I think the worry is the subliminal message there is from being directly across from a primary school.
“But with an exclusion zone around the school there would be no Nana Jan’s, no Subway.
“What would it mean for The War Horse? Where do we draw a line?”
He added that exclusion zone concerns are also more appropriate when schools have Key Stage 3 pupils who can leave school grounds on lunch breaks.
Social media has also been flooded with comments for and against the development.
Matthew Whittaker wrote: “Yum, more junk food.”
A second person added: “Not one person is suggesting a five-year-old would cross an even busier main road. It’s the promotion of junk food, an increasing obese society and obesity in children in particular that is rising.”
A third person, Sarah Thompson, said: “Everyone saying ‘it’s built near from a school’. Yes, along with two pubs, a Domino’s and a betting shop.
“It doesn’t mean kids are going to spend their life there. Everything in moderation.”
A KFC spokesman said: “We’re really excited about opening our new restaurant in Buckshaw Village today which will create over 30 jobs for the area.
"We are committed to being a good neighbour in every community we’re in and look forward to being a positive addition to the thriving community in Buckshaw Village.”