MIGHTY buckets of deep-fried chicken and popcorn chicken could be coming to Weymouth town centre as KFC unveiled plans to open a new restaurant.

The chain, which already has a restaurant and drive-through in Jubilee Close, has submitted plans to move into a unit on St Mary Street, formerly occupied by jewellers Warren James.

A representative at KFC has applied for a change of use from a former retail shop to hot food takeaway as well as replacing the shopfront and installing plant and extraction system.

The proposed hot food takeaway, which would be open between 10am to 11pm throughout the week, would employ 20 members of staff, including approximately 12 full-time employees and eight part-time staff.

Dorset Echo: Where KFC aims to open a new store in Weymouth town centre. Picture: Dorset EchoWhere KFC aims to open a new store in Weymouth town centre. Picture: Dorset Echo

The application shows a new store front would be installed along with three illuminated signs. Inside the store, a number of tables would be installed for dine-in eating, while three touch screen order points will be in place to allow customers to order their food.

The first floor will be occupied by a staffing area while the second floor will be vacant.

The application states KFC would provide a positive boost to Weymouth town centre as the unit has been empty since January.

The design and access statement reads: “Furthermore, when appraising the planning merits of the proposal, regard must also be had to how the proposal would enhance the vitality and viability of Weymouth town centre, given how the application premises have been vacant for six months and the detrimental impact of that vacancy upon the town centre.

Dorset Echo: How the proposed KFC in Weymouth town centre will look if approved.How the proposed KFC in Weymouth town centre will look if approved.

“Additionally, the proposal would also bring significant economic benefits associated with the creation of approximately 20 new jobs, and the proposed use is identified within the glossary (Annex 2) to the National Planning Policy Framework as comprising a ‘main town centre’ use, with the proposed use being complementary to the wider function of the town centre and providing a direct service to the public.”

The application notes that while McDonald's is nearby the proposed KFC site, there would not be an ‘over-concentration' of takeaways and ‘not would it significantly increase the number of late-night entertainment uses in the area.’

Dorset Echo: The layout of the ground floor of the proposed KFCThe layout of the ground floor of the proposed KFC

If approved, it will be the 16th KFC branch to open in Dorset.

Craig Oakes said he was 'happy' to see an empty unit in St Marys Street filled by a 'big brand' as the local economy aims to bounce back from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "It is good to see that a national brand has the confidence to move into the town centre and into this area. It is good to see that jobs have been created." ​

Comments on the application from members of the public are welcome until Monday, October 18. The plans can be found on planning application section of Dorset Council's website under application number /FUL/2021/02457

KFC has been approached for further comment.