“WOULD my friend still be alive today if the road wasn’t gridlocked?”

That was the question put to civic chiefs by Whiteley resident Wendy Backwell as they discussed plans for a drive-thru KFC.

Mrs Backwell fears proposals by the fast food giant for land off Solent Way will make local roads even more congested.

Her friend, named only as Stan, died in Whiteley after an ambulance was unable to get to his home because of heavy traffic.

She told the city council planning committee: “At least 650 residents are behind what I’m saying today. It is our human right to prevent incidental and accidental death.

“We are haunted by what happened with Stan and it’s unacceptable that the traffic in our town has caused so many accident blackspots - including where this restaurant would be built.

“Enough is enough. Who else has to die before officers see what is staring them in the face?”

The plans were rejected six votes to two, with Cllr Eileen Berry abstaining, after the committee heard of further traffic problems caused by current work on the M27.

Cllr Jane Rutter said: “Surely this KFC would create the perfect storm of traffic chaos. The timing with the highway situation is alarming to say at the least.”

Presenting officer Robert Green told the committee that a traffic management plan has been developed, which would allow the projects to “work alongside each other.”

But Cllr Berry raised concerns over the new Lidl store that was opened in January on the same patch of land.

She said: “Wherever Lidl shops open, there is a tremendous influx of traffic. With this KFC, the M27 works and everything else to consider, it will be an incredibly busy area.”

Other questions focussed on how fast food restaurants can increase littering.

Cllr David McLean said: “Litter is a big issue for me. I get the idea that people munch their chicken and dump the rubbish out the window. What protection could be offered to protect the area against that?”

Cllr Rutter told the committee: “I understand it will create jobs. But they will be low wage and part-time. We want well-paid, full-time contracts. Otherwise it’s not helping the local community.”

Mr Green said that action group Whiteley Residents Matter had submitted a petition to the city council “demanding no further development in Whiteley.”