Neighbour of historic Ewell pub in favour of it becoming a KFC
A man who lives next to a historic pub has spoken out in favour of a controversial plan to turn it into a fast-food restaurant.
Steve Rousseau, a bus driver of Ewell Bypass, believes turning the Organ and Dragon in London Road, Ewell into a KFC will save the building which he said has become increasingly dilapidated since he moved there 12 years ago.
It was pub and Thai restaurant until it closed in July.
KFC has submitted a planning application to Epsom and Ewell Council to turn the site into a "restaurant and hot food takeaway, with associated improvements to the access and car parking areas" - a move which has prompted hundreds of people to sign a petition against the increased traffic, litter and anti-social behaviour they believe will follow.
But 57-year-old Mr Rousseau said: "I’m happier it will become a KFC.
"The pub was getting more and more run down and it wasn’t that popular. From Monday to Thursday it was impossible to get people in there, it was only busier on Saturday nights.
"It’s a lovely building and they will keep it.
"In the long run it may become a drive-through. But I don’t think it’s going to be that bad.
"The pub will be uplifted by the KFC, with the amount of money and investment they are bringing to it."
But Elaine Jury, of Elmwood Drive, said she has already collected 1,000 signatures opposing the KFC development.
She said: "The response to the campaign has been phenomenal.
"Ewell and Stoneleigh residents and anyone who has travelled through the crossroads and knows how bad they are has signed.
"We will be door-knocking to persuade residents to write to the council objecting to the application."
A number of residents have already submitted their complaints online.
Dalbir Bansal said: "This is absolutely diabolical.
"The locals do not need a KFC. There will be increased litter and it will effect on our house prices."
Victoria Everest agreed: "This cannot be considered an appropriate or positive development. I have significant concerns around the increased noise, pollution, litter, negative impact on house prices and further congestion on an already dangerously busy junction."
The Facebook page ‘Say yes to KFC at site of Organ and Dragon’ has received 338 ‘likes’ since August 30.
To comment on the planning application visit http://eplanning.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MAJA7NGY8H000