FAST food giant McDonald’s latest bid to build a new restaurant and drive-thru has been rejected by influential community leaders.

The company had returned with a new and improved plan for the former Red Lion pub site in Commercial Road, Totton, after it dropped its original scheme earlier this year following a barrage of local opposition.

The new plan claims to address road safety with new pedestrian links to the town centre and an extra drive-thru lane to cut waiting times.

But planners on Totton and Eling Town Council have unanimously voted to refuse it, chiefly because of crime and road safety.

Speaking at a planning committee meeting, vice chairman Chris Lagdon said: “It will destroy a nice part of Totton and we should be fighting this tooth and nail.”

New Forest District Council planners will now take the vote into consideration when they decide on planning permission in January.

A major concern for town councillors in Totton is that it will cause accidents because vehicles enter and exit on to a sharp bend.

Cllr Lagdon said a busy drive-thru would make access to a neighbouring school difficult.

He said: “If it goes ahead as it is there will be serious, serious problems so far as traffic going in and out is concerned.”

He dismissed Hampshire County Council’s highways department’s lack of objections as a “crock of rubbish”.

Another fear is that the restaurant could attract yobs from the town and Millbrook.

A gang of youths recently had their plot for a mass brawl thwarted by police who had been monitoring social |networking sites.

But the fast food restaurant says its plan, revised after 84 local objections earlier this year, would breathe life into the site and create 65 jobs.

Henry Tricky, the company’s vice president (development), said that the company had listened to the concerns of the council and believed that they have now addressed them.

He said: “We’re excited about the prospect of investing in Totton and continuing to work with the council with our |proposal.”

Totton has also been targeted by KFC and Costa Coffee, which want to open on the same site off the Rushington roundabout.

That plan would create 60 jobs.