Victory in campaign against McDonald's

Published on: 05 Feb 2015

Campaigners are celebrating after persuading councillors to throw out a plan for a McDonald's drive-thru and takeaway in Fishponds Road.

Members of Bristol's development control committee voted unanimously to turn down the application for the former tile warehouse after being told that more than 500 people had objected to the proposed two-storey restaurant and takeaway.

The committee heard from a number of the leading opponents and Councillor Bill Payne said they had made a compelling case.

Star of the show was 11-year-old Ella Hassell, a student at Bristol Metropolitan Academy, who won praise from a number of councillors, including committee chairman Councillor Peter Abraham, for her concise speech expressing concern about the road safety risks, increased air pollution and litter.

“We think this plan sends out the wrong message about diet, obesity and the environment. We think this is a hefty price to pay for a Big Mac. We think this plan stinks,” she said.

The committee was told that Sally Apps, principal of the 800-student Bristol Met, was among the objectors on health and transport grounds. Many people were worried about the proximity of the site to three schools, but officers said none of the schools was less than 400 metres away – the distance set in national planning guidance.

The refusal of permission was for two reasons: “unacceptable highway safety conflicts” and lack of information about the impact of noise, smells and light pollution on neighbours.

Officers said that traffic turning right into the site would present dangers for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. They were also concerned about the potential conflict with the bus lane, the number of parking spaces on the site and arrangements for service deliveries.

Campaigner James Tromans said the residents' own traffic surveys showed a higher volume of traffic on the congested Fishponds Road than the McDonald's study, which had been carried out in late July.

Other campaigners who spoke were Clare Fowle, Grant Hudson, Pauline Shaw and Tom Rowe, as well as local councillors Mhairi Threlfall and Mahmadur Khan.

Ms Threlfall said residents wanted to see the disused tile centre site developed but in a positive way that would lead to a “happier and healthier Fishponds”.

Mike Williams, from McDonald's, said the company believed Fishponds Road was an excllent location and independent traffic, noise and air quality studies had shown that the restaurant would have minimal impact.

He stressed that the proposal was for 6am-11pm opening, not 24/7 and said the company would create 65 jobs and would be a good neighbour.

Campaigners are planning to meet at the site on Saturday at 11am to review their eight-month campaign and decide how to move forward. There are hopes that community members can get involved in creating a neighbourhood plan to help shape the future development of Greater Fishponds.

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