A TOWN’S first KFC restaurant has finally opened its doors after a battle of petitions broke out between residents both for and against the finger licking plans.

The new KFC in New Milton can be found at 59 Station Road at the site of the old Natwest bank branch.

Having opened in late-December, the fast-food restaurant is now also open for delivery customers.

Operators say the new site has created 20 new jobs in the local community.

Bournemouth Echo: KFC in Station Road, New MiltonKFC in Station Road, New Milton

Tomas Petrauskas of operator Caskade Group said: “We’re so pleased to have opened the doors of our restaurant in New Milton. It’s the first KFC in the area and we’re delighted to be able to kick off the new year by bringing people their favourite fried chicken.”

However, the venture has not been without controversy. Residents were split down the middle over the plans which even saw two petitions go head-to-head on the matter.

Resident Heidi Downs started a petition, signed by more than 200 people, to stop the fried chicken franchise from coming to the town. She wrote: “There is already huge amounts of litter dropped around the skate park, children’s play area and the surrounding areas which comes from the local shops and subway. Imagine adding KFC wrappers, cups, boxes and bags to that.

“It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Meanwhile, a rival petition started by resident Joe Greg attracted more than 170 signatures.

Ultimately, however, the restaurant opened for business on December 20 – with customers greeted by an arch of balloons as they walked through the entrance.