McDONALD’S plans to build a new restaurant and drive-thru in Herefordshire has left a school fearing for the safety of its children.

McDonald’s said in its planning application to Herefordshire Council that was "excited" to be progressing and believed a new restaurant would bring "significant investment" to the local community.

The proposed entrance to the new site, off the A40 in Ross-on-Wye, will be via a small roundabout currently only leading to a housing estate, documents submitted to Herefordshire Council planners showed.

Consultants working on the scheme for McDonald's said there would be 65 jobs at the restaurant, and 2,444 car journeys would be expected a day, if the development gets the green light from planners.

John Kyrle High School stands nearby, and its pupil would have to cross the busy main road to access the restaurant.

Business and finance director Christine Bryan said the school feels strongly about the safety of its students.

“They would be required to cross over the heavily used A40, and this gives us cause for concern.

“We appreciate there is reference to pedestrian access and installation of railings, to encourage pedestrians to make their way to the already installed crossing, within the planning documents, but this safety measure we feel is not adequate.”

Residents living in St Mary’s Garden Village are concerned about children living in the village as they play outside on the quiet roads and green areas.

Estate resident Julia Batty was among those trying to stop the scheme and objected on the basis that it will draw trade from the town centre.

She is also concerned about the congestion it will cause on the roundabout next to the estate that drivers will use to get to the McDonald's site.

“The environmental problems caused by a fast-food outlet here in terms of emissions, noise, unsociable behaviour, are well documented around other 24-hour McDonald's, as are the litter problems they cause. [They are] are further reasons for my objection,” she said.

Ms Batty and her neighbours have set up an action group to submit an objection raising concerns about false data, pollution problems, the access is on the estate, traffic congestion, and its size.

“Throughout the application McDonald’s has supplied cherry-picked misleading data to provide a 'best-case scenario' to describe the impact of the restaurant on the amount of traffic, pollution, noise, invasion of privacy or nuisance to the area around the restaurant,” said a spokesperson.

But Jonathan Jones, who lives in the neighbouring Bluebell Close, said he supported the new drive-thru as it will create new jobs and bring more income into the community

“There are many fast-food restaurants and on the outskirts of Ross-on-Wye, including KFC and Burger King,” he said.

“I believe there will be no ill effects of letting McDonald’s come to the town.”

Ross-on-Wye Town Council objected to the application because it went against its neighbourhood development plan.

It said one reason for objection was it normally resists any out-of-town developments, especially those of a large scale.

Comments on this application are closed and planners will now decide its fate.

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

“We firmly believe we can have a positive impact in this area including the creation of 65 full and part-time jobs for local people.

“We pride ourselves on the positive contributions we make in communities across the UK and we proudly operate our business in a responsible way, beneficial to those in the immediate and surrounding areas.

“We hope for a decision that will allow us to demonstrate this in Ross-on-Wye.”

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