FAST food giant McDonald’s has been turned away from the gateway to Pembrokeshire.

The controversial planning application for a 24-hour McDonald’s - together with a Costa Coffee - for land on the outskirts of St Clears, has been refused by councillors.

The development, on land north of the A40 roundabout, could have created more than 80 jobs, Draycott Developments and Investments, who were behind the scheme, have previously said.

A flood of objections from the public followed the announcement of the proposals last year, with ten times as many against the plan as in favour.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee originally considered the plan last July, when it was recommended for approval. The committee deferred itsdecision for a site inspection, which took place ahead of their meeting last Thursday.

Despite the continued recommendation for approval of the plan, the committee voted in favour of turning it down.

Deferrals of the decision were called for by Cllr Sue Allen of Whitland and Cllr Philip Hughes of St Clears.

Cllr Allen felt that the economic and well-being impact assessment had not been quantified, while Cllr Hughes had requested the deferral for a re-assessment of the highway impact.

However, members voted by a majority in favour of refusing the application on the grounds that the site was outside the Local Development Plan area.

Planning committee chairman Cllr Alun Lenny voted in favour. He commented: “I don’t agree, so I am going to vote against, because I do have doubts about where this will go next.”

The application was for the development of the site at land at St Clears Roundabout, Old Tenby Road, St Clears, with the erection of both a freestanding restaurant and a freestanding coffee shop, both with associated drive-through facility.

The proposal also includes the installation of an access road, associated car park, public areas, extraction equipment and wider associated works.

The McDonald's, with a 100-seat capacity, would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while the Costa, with seating for up to 70 customers, would have opening hours of 5.30am to 10.30pm.

St Clears Town Council led the town’s opposition to the proposal, which has resulted in 270 letters of objection on grounds including the impact on local food businesses and outlets; the detriment to health; the potential for late-night noise, anti-social behaviour and crime and harm to wildlife, the rural environment and road safety.

However, the county council also received ‘a number’ of letters of support, welcoming new businesses to a ‘dying’ town and stating that more choice of food outlets would benefit the area, as well as creating more jobs for younger people.