McDonald’s turns down request for public meeting to discuss Bury St Edmunds drive-through proposal

The McDonalds proposed for Moreton Hall would share the Dragonfly Hotel site in Symonds Road
The McDonalds proposed for Moreton Hall would share the Dragonfly Hotel site in Symonds Road

A county councillor, upset by McDonald’s refusal to attend a public meeting, says it is ‘just another case of the big boys not interested in the upset they cause’.

In June, McDonald’s submitted a planning application for a drive-through restaurant off Symonds Road on Bury St Edmunds’ Moreton Hall estate.

The proposal has attracted a raft of objections and Cllr Trevor Beckwith was keen to hold a public meeting to discuss the matter but McDonald’s turned down his request last week.

He said: “I wanted a public meeting not only for McDonald’s to justify their application but also to explain their contempt for the community by including so much inaccurate information.

“They say the site is level and flat; it isn’t. They say the site is located at the junction of the A14 and Newmarket Road; it isn’t – Newmarket Road is four miles away. They even spell Bedingfeld Way incorrectly.

“Of greatest concern, they say surrounding uses are typical of a retail park, this is just untrue. No mention is made that the only use to the north of Bedingfeld Way is residential, supported by schools, churches, surgery, community centre, public house and convenience store, all located at the council defined village centre at Lawson Place, about three-quarters of a mile from the site.

“They openly state they want to attract custom from users of the A14 but no mention is made of how HGVs will access the site. I say they will park on Symonds Road and, having nowhere to turn, will go right through the residential area to Orttewell Road to get out.

“They claim that the Sainsbury’s roundabout will cope – tell that to the people snarled up there on a daily basis.”

“It’s a desperate application because, they say, they can’t find anywhere else but that doesn’t make it acceptable,” he said, adding that, if it wants to be part of a service station, it should instead consider the proposed petrol station between junctions 44 and 45 of the A14.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said planning guidance encouraged applicants to consider carrying out pre-application engagement with those affected but it was not mandatory.

She added: “In the case of the McDonald’s proposal for Moreton Hall this stage has now passed.

“An application has been registered and statutory public consultation is being carried out by St Edmundsbury Borough Council as the local planning authority, before councillors consider the case at a Development Control Committee meeting later this year.”

A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said: “We were unable to attend this meeting and whilst we appreciate there have been concerns raised about the new development, we are committed to working with the local community and council to address these in the future.”