KFC deny rumours of plan to open restaurant at Hexham’s old bus station


Fast food giant KFC have addressed rumours it had its sights set on a prominent site in a Northumberland town.

Claims were made on social media that the company was looking at the Old Bus Station in Hexham as a potential site for a new drive thru restaurant after it was revealed the site’s owners and Northumberland County Council had not reached an agreement over the site’s valuation.

In January, KFC listed the town as a proposed site for a new drive thru when it unveiled 500 new potential sites it hoped to open restaurants at.

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However, fried chicken fans will be disappointed with the company’s latest news, after it poured cold water on the rumours – but didn’t rule out returning to the site in the future. A spokeswoman for KFC said: “Sorry KFC fans of Hexham – no plans to open a new coop any time soon, but we’re always on the lookout for new sites so who knows what the future holds!”

The site has been unused since 2016, when the town’s new bus station opened just down the road. It was purchased by Dysart Developments, with plans to build shopping units and housing on the site – but the proposals never came to fruition and the bus station has fallen into disrepair.

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At a recent meeting at Northumberland County Council, members were told by Advance Northumberland’s Executive Director Rick O’Farrell that the council did not share Dysart’s valuation of the bus station, which is currently on the market for £1.5m.

Despite this, £5m remains allocated in the council’s budget to develop the site. Richard Wearmouth, the council’s portfolio holder for corporate finance, explained the latest situation.

Coun Wearmouth said: “Over a number of years we have included £5m in our budget. This is to ensure that if the bus station became available for a fair price that could be justified under the rules that govern council spending, then the council could step in to acquire the site and put it back into use.

“The site is currently on the market as we understand, and we hope there is interest such that the site is developed soon. In the meantime, the council continues to maintain funds in its budget in case the situation changes.”

Attempts to contact Dysart have been unsuccessful.

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