Minister urged to overturn decision on McDonald's in Fishponds Road

May 01 2018

CAMPAIGNERS against a McDonald’s drive-through in Fishponds have made a last-ditch attempt to stop the development.

They have written to the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, who grew up nearby in Stapleton Road, asking him to overturn the planning inspector’s decision to allow the restaurant on a former tile depot site in Fishponds Road.

Their letter, from chairman Mike Jempson, begins: “We believe your knowledge of East Bristol will help you to appreciate why the decision to give McDonald's the go-ahead to open a huge, two-storey drive-through restaurant on the busy Fishponds Road, in the face of extensive local opposition and rejection of their plans by Bristol City Council, is both inappropriate and an insult to the notion of local democracy and public health.

It concludes: “Neither demolition nor construction work has yet started on the site, where much will need to be done to clear hazardous materials and sunken fuel tanks. There is still time for you to intervene and assert the rights of the local community not to be colonised by McDonald’s, and to keep their footprint off the Fishponds Road to the benefit of our health and safety.”

The campaigners are calling for a full health impact assessment, to look at air quality, noise, sanitation, traffic safety and environmental considerations.

They point out that the Fishponds plan was seen by McDonald’s as a test case for a new strategy of moving into residential areas to increase footfall. 

Mr Jempson's letter highlights the record levels of opposition to the development: Bristol City Council received 495 written objections and another 1,667 people signed an online petition set up by a local mother who lives very close to the site, and a variety of local residents presented their specific concerns about McDonald’s plans. This continued throughout the public inquiry into the plans, where another 86 people submitted objections.

The fastfood giant treated local residents with disdain throughout the process.  "The Planning Inspectorate has allowed a multinational company to ride rough-shod over the local planning authority, the local community and government policies," the letter says.