A national operator's multi-million-pound investment in a coastal town has moved a step closer to reality.

A scheme that would see a third McDonald's drive-through restaurant open on vacant land in Lowestoft came under scrutiny this week.

More than 120 jobs could be created as plans for a new McDonald's restaurant on land in north Lowestoft, opposite the town's main Tesco supermarket and close to a Travelodge Hotel, were lodged earlier this year.

The restaurant chain submitted three Illuminated Advertisement Consent applications to East Suffolk Council and a "hybrid application" for a new drive-through McDonald’s on land south of Leisure Way, Lowestoft back in April.

Eastern Daily Press: Leisure Way, Lowestoft.Leisure Way, Lowestoft. (Image: Mick Howes)

It came after a "prime residential development site" on land south of Leisure Way in Lowestoft had been marketed for sale with property experts Whirledge & Nott for £850,000.

With the hybrid application including the restaurant, drive-thru facility, car parking, landscaping and associated works, a supporting statement by agents Planware Ltd, on behalf of the applicant McDonald's Restaurants Ltd, said: "In summary, the proposal represents a multi-million-pound investment by a national operator in Lowestoft.

"The proposed restaurant is expected to employ more than 120 full and part time staff, which McDonald’s seeks to recruit from the local area."

Lowestoft Town Council's planning committee "agreed to recommend approval of the application" at a meeting on May 3.

After further supporting documents - including ecological reports, a travel plan and litter management plan - had been lodged with East Suffolk, town councillors discussed the plans once more this week.

At a planning meeting on Tuesday, councillor Christian Newsome said: "Do we really need a third McDonald's in the town?

"We have already got two - is there really a need for a third?"

Concerns around the impact on the nearby County Wildlife Site, litter and noise nuisance were also raised by councillors Wendy Brooks and Sonia Barker.

Councillor Peter Lang said: "Since we previously approved this application they have improved the original plans with more information - they have made it better."

An initial vote to refuse the application was dismissed - after planning committee chairman Peter Knight had the casting say following a 3-3 split vote.

A subsequent vote to approve the application was then carried - after another 3-3 split vote - with councillor Knight using the casting vote in approving the scheme.

The town council put forward a recommendation to approve the application to East Suffolk Council who, as planning authority, will have the final say at a later date.