We’re not lovin’ it: big No to McDonald’s
Published on: 29 Oct 2014
A HUGE campaign is being mounted to try to stop McDonald’s opening a 24-hour drive-thru in Fishponds Road.
The fast food giant wants to turn the former Bristol Tile warehouse into a restaurant and takeaway, which it says will provide more than 65 full and part-time jobs.
But people living nearby fear a burger restaurant will bring noise, litter and smells close to their homes, while others in the community are concerned at the possible impact on independent businesses, children’s health and – of course – traffic.
More than 1,300 people have signed an online petition and about 300 have sent individual objections to Bristol City Council planning department, which will decide on the change of use of the site at 541-551 Fishponds Road.
The official deadline for comments was extended to October 29 after some campaigners said the consultation period was too short, and the local MP Kerry McCarthy said she had been assured objections could be submitted right up until the issue was discussed by councillors.
Two protest meetings have been well attended and on October 18 more than 200 people of all ages took part in a demonstration, stopping the traffic when they marched down Fishponds Road.
Kerry McCarthy and the area’s two councillors, Mairi Threlfall and Mahmadur Khan, praised the strong local support for the campaign.
Ms McCarthy said that siting a giant fast-food outlet within 800 metres of three schools – Bristol Metropolitan Academy, Fishponds Church of England Academy and Chester Park Junior School – would go against local and national priorities for health and wellbeing.
She also said that many people were unconvinced that McDonald’s proposals to keep noise, smells and litter to a minimum would work. The litter problem would not only have an impact in the immediate area but also further afield, she added.
In a statement, the campaigners said Fishponds was a welcoming, open hearted community that was supporting the regeneration of the high street. They said Fishponds Road already suffered congestion and pollution and they questioned the firm’s assessment of the environmental impact of their proposal.
Similar McDonald’s drive-thrus were in retail parks or out-of-town sites. None of the firm’s other Bristol restaurants were close to homes, they pointed out.
“A 24-hour ‘drive-thru’ McDonalds, opening so close to local schools, against the wishes of the local community, in a high street that is newly establishing an identity for itself despite the presence of so many big chains – well, that’s sad day for Bristol, and a sad precedent to be set by the European Green Capital 2015,” they said.