Campaigners 'appalled' as McDonald's gets go-ahead

June 30 2017

MCDONALD’S has won permission to open a drive-through restaurant and takeaway on Fishponds Road following a planning inquiry.

MCDONALD’S has won permission to open a drive-through restaurant and takeaway on Fishponds Road following a planning inquiry.

Martin Whitehead, the planning inspector, ruled in favour of the fast-food giant after the seven-day hearing in spite of opposition from campaigners and Bristol City Council.

He said the development of a two-storey restaurant at the former tile depot at 541-551 Fishponds Road would improve the area and any concerns could be controlled by planning conditions.

The Say No to MacDonald’s in Fishponds group said it was appalled and astounded by the decision, announced on June 15. It has six weeks in which to appeal to the High Court and is considering its options, but the cost of taking the protest further is likely to be prohibitive.

Mike Jempson, chairman of NoMacinF, said it was disgraceful that the 495 written objections, the 1,667 signatories to the group's petition, and 

617 local residents who signed another petition had been dismissed.  “A careful reading of his [the inspector’s] decision shows that he has swallowed whole McDonald’s arguments, giving them the go-ahead with scant regard to the wishes and concerns of local residents. There was never clearer evidence of the way planning law has been skewed to favour developers over against the common people.

“From his report it is clear that he expected local volunteers to match the technical evidence produced by contractors handsomely rewarded by McDonald’s to reproduce similar documents every time the fast food giant is challenged by local residents. The campaigners objected to the development because of the impact on traffic on Fishponds Road and on people living nearby.

They also raised concerns about air pollution, smells and health risks of fast food, especially for children.

Takeaways are discouraged within 400 metres of a school.The  McDonald's site is just outside that limit but still close to Bristol Metropolitan Academy and Fishponds CE Academy.

Mr Jempson said: "While some of our concerns are expected to be addressed in conditions which will be applied to the development under the supervision of Bristol City Council, we remain convinced that the McDonald’s footprint will be to the detriment of Greater Fishponds. "