CONSTRUCTION work is under way on a major £10million development scheme in Christchurch which includes a Burger King restaurant and Costa Coffee shop.

Plans for the drive-thru units in Somerford Road were approved by BCP Council planners earlier this year.

The scheme from Southampton-based developer Hamdon Gate is for part of the former Christchurch airfield site.

The approved business park plan, which has been named Christchurch Trade Park, is located on land between the Meteor Retail Park and Penton Citroen car garage and dealership.

Most recently the site was home to an Office for National Statistics storage facility, however, in the past it was home to Christchurch Airport and served as a major part of the aircraft industry in the town.

Hamdon Gate said its scheme reflected an investment of £10million and would provide 65 new and part time jobs.

The developer said the scheme will link to both Wilverley Road and Somerford Road, with this “improving the commercial vitality of the immediate location”.

Matthew Small, managing director of Hamdon Gate, said: “We are delighted to breathe life into the site and develop the last commercial opportunity along Somerford Road.”

Alongside the two drive-thru units, which have been let to giants Burger King and Costa Coffee, respectively, a further speculative terrace of nine trade units is being built on the site. This will be available from June next year, Hamdon Gate said.

Bournemouth Echo: The site from Wilverley RoadThe site from Wilverley Road

Christchurch Town Council had submitted an objection to the scheme citing concerns over traffic safety at to the junction of Somerford Road and Wilverley Road.

A further eight resident objections were submitted, again referencing potential traffic fears and rubbish problems.

However, in approving the application, a BCP Council planning officer said the scheme was compatible with the character of the surrounding area and the applicant would make a £20,000 contribution for upgrading a near by bus stop among other measures.

As reported, the site’s history as part of the airfield includes it serving as an RAF base during the Second World War. This use ended in 1966 after the control tower was closed. Some of the factory units remained but those nearest to Somerford Road were flattened for the redevelopment.