Planners slam McDonald’s Moreton Hall drive through plan

The Dragonfly Hotel site in Symonds Road where McDonalds  wants to open a drive-through
The Dragonfly Hotel site in Symonds Road where McDonalds wants to open a drive-through
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McDonald’s has agreed to planners having more time to consider its proposed Moreton Hall drive through.

Suffolk Highways has urged refusal due to poor visibility at the exit onto Symonds Road and inadequate parking so McDonald’s has agreed to give until mid-June for highways to consider a Traffic Assessment it has submitted and for the company to address the parking and visibility issues.

McDonald’s wants to build free-standing drive-through on the Dragonfly Hotel site off the Bedingfeld Way roundabout, opposite Sainsbury’s.

Suffolk Highways says the increased use of the site requires access to be upgraded with a visibility splay of 90m on each side.

Its submission observes that on-site parking will be reduced by 20 public spaces. It says for the 71-bedroom hotel and restaurant, the site should have either 115 or 155 parking places, depending on the size of the restaurant, but the plans only show 86, plus five disabled bays.

It adds: “The car parking is under-provision, which may lead to parking on the highway in the visibility splay and be a risk to highway safety.”

It also points out problems with a proposed cycle route to the site, tactile crossings and on-site direction signs.

On Tuesday St Edmundsbury’s Planning Policy Department gave its view on the application urging refusal because of the number of local and national planning policies the officers feel it fails on.

Their report says McDonald’s failed to ‘adequately consider’ alternative sites in Tayfen Road and Suffolk Business Park,that the site lies in countryside that has to be protected, would ‘petrmenantly damage’ the character of the site through removing landscaping and adding advertising signs, would not positively contribute to ‘local distinctiveness’ and fails to provide sufficent parking.

St Edmunsbury Borough Council has only received two letters of support for the development, from people living in Bury St Edmunds town centre.

But 90 objections include a petition with 62 names and another with seven. In addition, the Moreton Hall Residents’ Association has objected to it.

The association says it is ‘not a suitable location for the demand on the A14’ because access is not direct from the dual-carriageway and views as ‘nonsense’ McDonald’s claim that the roundabout did not have a congestion problem.