CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new McDonald's have been thrown out by civic chiefs over fears of traffic chaos and anti-social behaviour.

The fast food outlet was set to be given the green light to build at a car park by the Itchen Bridge in Woolston.

The branch- which would have been south Hampshire's sixteenth - had been recommended for approval at Southampton City Council's planning committee.

But councillors voted unanimously against the scheme at Portsmouth Road, which had already garnered more than 60 objections from residents who warned of increased traffic and an over-saturation of food establishments in the area.

Police had also raised fears over a possible increase in anti-social behaviour if the scheme was given the go-ahead.

The restaurant would have opened alongside others in Millbrook, Shirley, Swaythling and the city centre.

Hampshire Constabulary says there have been more than 250 incidents at or close to McDonald’s premises – including 80 assaults – in the last two years at Millbrook, Hedge End, Shirley, Harbour Parade and Totton.

Planning approval would have seen the current structure at Portsmouth Road demolished and replaced with a new three storey building with a drive-thru and 38 parking spaces.

McDonald’s had also hoped to have the restaurant open 24-hours-a-day, telling the Daily Echo that the restaurant would create 65 full-time and part-time jobs in the community.

But following talks with the council, the company has agreed to limit the opening times to 6am until midnight every day.

The planning officers’ report said: “Despite significant local opposition to the proposals officer’s feel that a suitable balance has been achieved between securing a viable use for a vacant site in the Woolston District Centre whilst not detrimentally harming the residential amenity and highway safety.”

Councillor for Peartree, Alex Houghton, told the meeting there was "significant opposition" among residents.

"If we are going to put the market leader in Woolston that is going to have an impact on the existing retail offer there," he said.

"The traffic issue is a nightmare for anyone who knows that area. It has been a problem for years and years."

Speaking about the branch's opening hours, he added: " I think they will connive to push and push for 24 hour opening on the site until they get it."

Chairman Cllr Mike Denness called Hampshire Constabulary's report "pretty damning" and queried whether measures such as CCTV cameras would even prevent crime.

Cllr Nigel Hecks said: "Traffic has been mentioned, crime has been mentioned. Both I think are a substantial reasons to refuse. We simply cannot put this amount of development on the site without serious amenity problems."