IN A SIGN of the times, popular fast-food chain KFC is planning to open its first store within Wokingham borough.
The fried chicken specialist has lodged a planning application for illuminated signs to the branch which will be next to a Costa coffee.
Planning permission for the site, in Chalfont Square, Lower Earley, to become a restaurant was granted by Wokingham Borough Council in October last year and sees the fast-food company take over the final part of the former Just For Pets store, which was also the former site of a Blockbuster Video store.
KFC is a multi-national chain that uses a secret blend of herbs and spices in its chicken batter.
Its menu includes a mixture of fried chicken pieces, burgers, vegetarian and vegan options, plus side dishes such as corn-on-the-cob and baked beans.
It is famous for its bucket meals that contain chicken drumsticks and wings with fries and drinks.
The menu also features a rice box which includes chicken, rice and salad, and some ‘boneless banquets’ – chicken filets and popcorn chicken pieces, similar to nuggets.
The proposals for the signs at the planned Lower Earley branch are currently out for consultation, which closes on Friday, October 2.
There would be a large illuminated KFC sign next to the Domino’s Pizza store as people drive into Chalfont Square.
Outside the entrance to the store, there would be a picture of the chain’s founder, Colonel Saunders, as well as another KFC sign. There will also be an internal neon sign and a projection sign in the shape of a KFC bucket.
In the application, the company’s agent notes: “The proposed internally illuminated elevational signage is simple and proportionate in both size and appearance having regard to the building as a whole, and nor does it over-dominant the frontage of the wider retail park or result in clutter.”
Hillside Conservative councillor Pauline Jorgensen welcomed the news and had been visiting the site after learning of traffic concerns.
“I had a look at the new Costa on Sunday and was pleased to see it busy,” she told Wokingham.Today
“I checked that there was enough car park space following concerns expressed to me from residents and on Sunday lunchtime there were still spaces which is also good.
“People also were concerned about the pavement being obstructed but there is plenty of room.”
She added: “I am glad to see that KFC are coming to Earley and taking up the last remaining unit, it’s good to see a full and bustling precinct of shops, and I am sure they will be very popular.”
And Cllr Clive Jones, Lib Dem leader of Earley Town Council, was also looking forward to the restaurant opening, saying that he liked the chicken.
“It’s a good thing for Earley,” he said. “It’s the same with Costa next door, between them they will be employing around 20 people, that is good news.”
In January, we reported that KFC has been advertising for staff for a potential Elms Field branch.
At the time, a spokesperson for Wokingham Borough Council said: “We know KFC is keen to expand in this area however this will not be in the council’s Elms Field regeneration.”
KFC was contacted for a comment.
The planning application is 202177, and can be seen at planning.wokingham.gov.uk