Locals battle to stop McDonald’s coming to pretty Peak District town

Opposition to a proposed McDonald’s in a Peak District market town has been gaining momentum since the original application was submitted in November last year.

The fast food restaurant would be built on the site of the former site of the Wrens Nest pub in Glossop on Glossop Brook Road.

Locals are concerned about the extra traffic and the appearance of the new McDonald’s restaurant which looks out of place in a conservation area.

Expected to create more than 60 jobs, the planning document specifies that the demolition of the old building would be necessary.

Currently, the public planning application is awash with comments, most of which express the same statement of support for the planned building that was submitted via a link on the McDonald’s website.

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However, local residents are significantly opposed to the fast food project.

A Facebook group called Oppose McDonald’s was launched in early December with the aim of raising awareness of the planned McDonald’s, as well as encouraging locals to sign a petition which has around 800 signatures.

Derbyshire Live spoke to petition organizer Jane Fantom about why so many people are so strongly opposed to the fast food franchise in Glossop.

Jane said: “McDonald’s submission indicates that residential amenities are not considered a concern in this application.

“Residents disagree and say the development will have a significant impact on their quality of life. McDonald’s will be open late at night for long hours which will create noise, anti-social behavior, littering and increased traffic congestion.

“The development will be very well lit and clearly visible 24 hours a day from the Wren Nest factory, as it will be located high up.”

Along with concerns about residential amenities, the campaign group believe the submitted traffic assessment “grossly” underestimates peak traffic at the site and fails to take into account the already congested roads around the area.

A response from the Highway Authority on the planning document also condemned the proposal.

A statement said: “The Highway Authority could not support this application if it were to be submitted as a full application.

“Access to the site is unacceptable from an operational point of view.

“Without seeing traffic forecasts or assessments, it is difficult to predict the effect of queuing on the main section of Glossop Brook Road, but if other McDonald’s drive-thru locations are to follow , a potential queue on the secondary road will also cause unnecessary queues on the main section of Glossop Brook Road.”

Councilor Damien Greenhalgh met with opponents to the construction of the fast food establishment

Another local resident and member of the Oppose group, Sharon Conreen, spoke of her difficulties accessing the site on her mobility scooter.

She believes that the plan and location of the site submitted do not take into account the needs of people with reduced mobility and wheelchair users in terms of autonomy and access to the site.

The campaign group also met with councilor Damien Greenhalgh about the development being at odds with the High Peak local plan.

The local plan states that all new development is necessary to protect and enhance the character, appearance and setting of the towns.

Jane said: ‘A McDonald’s with big lighted signage and two huge totem poles will not be in keeping with local heritage or the Wren Nest Mill in the conservation area or town.’

A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “At McDonald’s, we strive to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve.

“We strongly believe we can make a positive impact in this area, including the creation of at least 65 full-time and part-time jobs for local people.

“We are proud of the positive contributions we make in communities across the UK and we proudly operate our business responsibly, benefiting those in the immediate and surrounding areas.

“A transport assessment has been submitted as part of our planning application which concludes that our proposed development would have no material impact on the functioning of the local road network.

“Our request will be assessed as part of the process by the competent highway authority to ensure safety.

“We are committed to keeping the areas around our restaurants clean and tidy. All of our restaurants are equipped with indoor and outdoor recycling facilities.

“We will be conducting at least three litter swabs per day to collect all litter, not just McDonald’s branded packaging, near our restaurant.

“As a company, we are committed to sourcing renewable and recyclable materials by 2025.

“The comments referenced represent only a small proportion of the hundreds of supportive comments publicly visible in the High Peak Borough Council’s website planning file.”

Public consultation on the proposal ends at the end of this month, with a decision date set for March.

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Daniel E. Murphy