Five years after protesters first took to the streets to oppose McDonald’s plans for a Drive-Thru restaurant on Fishponds Road, the store finally opened yesterday.
The campaign group NoMacInF said on Twitter: “We fought hard against McDs, but money speaks and in the end they won. Let’s monitor all those things we mentioned i.e. traffic, litter, noise, smells, light pollution and report here.”
They held a clown party at the neighbouring Star pub this week to pay tribute to everyone who campaigned tirelessly against the fast food restaurant.
Hundreds of people, local councillors and MP Kerry McCarthy had objected to the plans for the 24-hour-a-day facility on the old Bristol Tile warehouse site when they were first revealed back in 2014. In 2015 Bristol City Council rejected the plans on highway safety grounds. Other issues that people had voiced concerns about were air quality, litter, noise and odour, and the health impact as several schools are close by.
McDonald’s appealed and unveiled new plans for major alterations to the layout of Fishponds Road. A planning inspector found in their favour in 2017, saying the additional traffic forecast to result from the development would not have any significant adverse effect on highway safety.
He acknowledged there had been significant local opposition to the proposal but added: “There have also been expressions of support for the proposal and I have considered the relevant concerns expressed in the light of the evidence presented with regard to the development plan and national policies.”
In terms of health and wellbeing, the inspector said there was nothing conclusive to show that the proposal would result in any significant increase in obesity in Fishponds, even though it has been recognised as an area of multiple deprivation.
The inspector was also satisfied that a plan for the management of litter, enforced through a planning condition, would prevent any significant litter problems, and that the air quality impacts of the proposal would be “negligible”.