A new drive-thru McDonalds and service station looks set to be built close to the M56 creating 145 jobs, despite fears over safety and proximity to underground chemical pipelines.

Halton Council’s development management committee is poised to rubber-stamp an application for the drive-thru, filling station and convenience store on land off Rocksavage Roundabout between the A557 Weston Point Expressway and Weaver View in Runcorn, adjacent to Junction 12 of the M56.

Applicant Impero Development Management says the development will create 120 jobs at the McDonalds, with an extra 25 roles at the service station and shop. The whole site and restaurant would operate 24-hours-a-day.

The scheme also proposes 54 car parking spaces including six accessible spaces and four rapid EV charging spaces, seven spaces for motorcycles and 12 for bicycles.

The application will be considered by the committee following a request from ward councillor Margaret Ratcliffe.

In a written representation, she wrote: "The proposal to steer off from a major, busy roundabout and entry into the planned site is a major concern. The frequent number of accidents on the adjacent roads cause major tailbacks."

She added: "The report does not have any emergency response plan detailed in the event of an accident."

An objection has been lodged by SABIC UK Petrochemicals over proximity to a major trans-Pennine pipeline which transports ethylene – which is highly flammable and explosive – from its facility in Wilton, Teeside, to Runcorn.

The national Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also objected, it said: "The assessment indicates that the risk of harm to people at the proposed development site is such that HSE’s advice is that there are sufficient reasons on safety grounds, for advising against the granting of planning permission in this case."

A total of 33 representations have been received in all, 10 were in support of the proposals due to job generation and wishing to use the facilities. The site was partly developed as a wood yard - which is now vacant - and grazing land.

Recommending approval, the planning officer’s report said it was not considered that the safety advice of the HSE outweighed the proposal’s policy compliance and the benefits that would result.

It said that if the committee granted permission, the council was  to give the HSE 21 days’ notice to consider whether to request that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government call-in the application for their own determination.

The report added: “The proposed development would deliver two employment generating uses on this allocated employment site with an estimated 145 jobs and is considered a logical use for this constrained site and would support the local economy. The site is sufficiently distant from the nearest residential properties to ensure that no adverse effect upon amenity."

In regards to traffic concerns, it added: "Information demonstrating that the trip generation, traffic flows and distribution associated with the proposed development would not have significant detrimental impact on the immediate and local network in terms of capacity and queueing."