Planners challenged over KFC delay in Cookstown

Kentucky Fried Chicken project under threat?
Kentucky Fried Chicken project under threat?

A PROJECT to bring 40 jobs and millions of pounds in investment to Cookstown has been left in limbo due to the lengthy deliberations from planners, the MAIL has learned.

Developers aiming to bring a drive-thru KFC restaurant to the former site of Rodney Cole car dealership on Killymoon Street have warned that further hold ups in the planning process could lead to a withdrawal and relocation to another area.

The company behind the project contacted the MAIL with their worries that they had been waiting seven months for a decision from the Planning Office.

A spokesman for OBC Developments said: “We applied for planning during April 2013, so we are now waiting seven months for a final decision.

“It appears to be taking a long time to go through the system. We are dismayed by this as it should not take any longer than 12 weeks for a decision. We have made similar applications in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland and 12 weeks has always been the timeframe. It seems to be excessive.

“£2 million of private money will be invested into this project and funding has already been secured.

“In addition to this the restaurant will provide 40 permanent jobs. This should be regarded as a positive boost for the local community of Cookstown.

“We cannot understand the reasons for the delay as many other regions would be overwhelmed by this investment during these ongoing tough economic times...we could withdraw without hesitation if this matter is not progressed,” he concluded.

The restaurant will cost in the region of £700,000 to construct and should be complete within 16 weeks.

A spokesperson for the Planning Office said: “The Department was required to re-advertise the amended proposal in the local press on 4th and 5th September 2013. In addition, the Department carried out further consultation... and presently awaits the comments from consultees before a formal decision can be made on the application.”