THE opening of another McDonald's - the area's sixteenth - could spark traffic chaos and worsen obesity in the city, critics argue.

The fast food chain has submitted a planning application to Southampton City Council to open a new 24-hour outlet by the Itchen Bridge in Woolston, creating more than 60 jobs.

The land, owned by Southampton City Council, is currently in use as a car park and a former local housing office.

Several residents have spoken out against and objected to the proposals.

Catherine Judge, of Mallais Road in Woolston, said: “Woolston already has 28 food establishments in the immediate area.

"Do we really need another? Shouldn't the council be promoting healthy eating and not encouraging fast food outlets?”

Lisa Sanocki, of Cecil Road, said: “There are already plenty of places to eat in Woolston therefore another is not needed especially one which doesn't help local business.

"The traffic congestion for the Itchen Bridge will just get worse and make the roads more dangerous as traffic increases.”

Another resident of nearby Radstock Road, who didn’t want to be named, said: “Woolston could soon turn into a bottleneck, particularly at peak times which would be the restaurants busiest time.”

Councillor Warwick Payne, local councillor for Woolston on the city council, said: “I would describe this as a Marmite application, some people love it, and some people hate it.

“This potentially leaves me with a difficult situation as the whole community doesn’t appear behind one side or the other ahead of any planning decision.

“McDonald's has made it a little harder for themselves to get the application through because of the 24-hour opening.”

McDonald's has six branches in the city, with a total of 15 in the wider south Hampshire area.

A spokesperson for McDonald's said: “We can confirm that we have submitted a planning application for a new restaurant on Portsmouth Road in Southampton.

"If approved, the restaurant would create 65 full and part-time jobs and bring significant investment to the local community.”

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK, said: “McDonald’s UK is to create over 5,000 jobs by the end of 2017.

"These new jobs build on the 8,000 we announced in 2014 which has taken our workforce to over 110,000 ahead of schedule.

“As a major UK employer, we have added more than 15,000 people to our workforce during the last five years alone as a result of our sustained business growth and long-term investment in recruitment and training.”

If planning permission is granted later this year, it is thought that the new premises will open in 2019.