THE City of Greater Bendigo has approved plans for a new KFC in Epsom even as councillors voice fears about what is now one of the most "potentially dangerous" intersections in town.
Councillors gave the restaurant on the corner of the Midland Highway and Howard Street the go-ahead despite 15 community objections, most of which focused on traffic in the busy section of town.
Councillor Andrea Metcalf said it was important to remember that the council could not knock back a proposal based on the type of business that might go there.
She said she had seen a number of comments suggesting the city had too many KFCs already and that other businesses would be more appropriate.
"Beyond zoning controls, it's not the scope of council to decide what business is located here," Cr Metcalf said.
"Whilst the city has a health and wellbeing plan which aims to promote healthy eating, this doesn't extend to planning controls that assess the health-merits of the food being produced."
Cr Metcalf said it was unlikely that the KFC's proximity to a school would affect traffic because the business's peak times and the school's would be different.
She was, however, concerned about traffic impacts.
Cr Metcalf said they underlined a wider point that Howard Street was overdue for redevelopment.
"This is an intersection I frequently use so I'm fully aware of its shortcomings," she said.
Councillor Matthew Evans said the intersection was potentially one of the most dangerous in Bendigo because of the nearby supermarkets, school and a major highway.
"It's pretty much a Bendigo bottle-neck, as I would describe it," he said.
Cr Evans hoped that road authorities would soon consider improvements to the intersection, but agreed with Cr Metcalf that the KFC should go ahead.
Cr Evans argued that the business would bring more jobs to Bendigo.
Monday night's council meeting was the first of the new council term and came with a range of changes as councillors put their stamp on proceedings.
They included ditching the opening prayer to God that previously opened council meetings.
Councillors will instead have a moment of reflection as well as an extended Acknowledgement of Country.
Also on Monday night, councillors knocked back a bid for a Buddhist temple near Heathcote over concerns neighbours could have to put up with too much noise and disruption.
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