KFC air quality concerns linger over proposed Chorley nursery

Councillors have demanded for a second time that the company behind plans for a new day nursery in Buckshaw Village demonstrates that air quality at the site would be safe for children.

Monday, 8th February 2021, 12:23 pm
Updated Monday, 8th February 2021, 2:12 pm
KFC in Buckshaw Village (pictured in March 2019)
KFC in Buckshaw Village (pictured in March 2019)

Chorley Council’s planning committee deferred a decision in December over whether to approve the proposed facility – on Barnes Wallis Way – amid concerns about its proximity to a neighbouring KFC drive-through restaurant.

Kids Planet Day Nurseries has since submitted an assessment showing that key air pollution measurements are well within the “objective level”.

The committee heard that the study had used an approved method of taking readings of nitrogen dioxide from the nearest existing air quality monitoring station – along with government data on background levels of the gas, together with particulate matter – and combining it with traffic data from the proposed nursery location to model levels of pollution in the vicinity of the plot.

The site of the proposed nursery on Barnes Wallis Way in Buckshaw Village (image via Chorley Council)

However, members said that the use of nitrogen dioxide rates from a point at the junction of the A6 and Buckshaw Avenue did little to show the true situation where the nursery would be built.

“I expected [the monitoring] to be done from the nursery site – not from two miles away,” said Cllr Aaron Beaver.

Fellow committee member Martin Boardman added that councillors had been “quite specific” at the last meeting that they wanted the survey to be undertaken at the location of the planning application.

“If this is a suitable site for a children’s day nursery, then that is absolutely fine – I just want to be 100 percent sure that we’re not putting [the lives of children] in Chorley in danger,” said Cllr Boardman.

The meeting heard that an outside play area would be 20 metres away from the KFC drive-through lane and the agent for the application, Paul Kallee-Grover, stressed that “the area where idling is most likely to occur, which is the [food collection] window, is on the opposite side of the building”.

He added: “Kids Planet Day Nurseries take the health of the children in their care very seriously – this extends to the staff, parents and guardians of those using the nurseries.

“That’s why we have sought to provide the council’s environmental health officers with robust data to demonstrate that there would be no harm to users of the nursery from traffic accessing the KFC.”

The environmental health team reviewed the air quality assessment and accepted its conclusion, but the committee voted unanimously to defer the matter again and ask the firm to carry out a site-specific study.

Principal planning officer Iain Crossland told the meeting: “The exercise that has been carried out isn’t a real-time monitoring exercise of air quality at this moment…from traffic using the KFC – this is a modelling exercise…based on data that has been picked up from the nearest monitoring assessment point.”