No doubt there are people who believe that chicken nuggets and fries or a grease-soaked burger are the epitome of a succulent wholesome meal, but to many others, this is pure anathema.
So how did such a down-market development such as McDonald’s and Starbucks come to be foisted upon our town?
The decision arrived at by the planning inspector appears to have been taken without any regard whatsoever for the local residents. Virtually all the objections raised i.e. the negative effects on nearby residents such as noise, litter, possible air pollution, anti social behaviour etc. seem to have been imperiously disregarded on the basis of little or no evidence. Likewise other concerns such as traffic problems, location close to schools, potential child obesity, car parking availability etc. were seemingly dismissed with a wave of the hand.
When the chickens come home to roost (no pun intended) the name of planning inspector F. Moss will live long in the memory of local residents.
However, this decision cannot be viewed in isolation without examining the role of the South Gloucestershire planning department. Right from the outset, the planning department sought to promote this application through meetings with the applicants, allegedly ignoring the views of local residents.
When this application came before the various planning committees, the council fought hard to get this through, but after the application was refused by both committees, the council was then duty-bound to defend the refusal decision. This they arguably did, but in my view only in a half-hearted manner.
Not much is known regarding the consultancy firm the council employed to do this, but the report they produced had far more points of agreement with the applicants than points of objection. This was far from a robust defence. Even the inspector’s report referred to the lack of evidence from the council to support the refusal. The system as such was clearly weighted heavily against local people.
South Gloucestershire Council has many good functions which are generally appreciated by the public. Unfortunately planning is not one of them, and it is not hard to see why. I believe they have failed the local residents, failed Bradley Stoke Town Council, failed local schools, and failed their own district councillors who sat on the planning committees.
A sad day for local democracy.
Cllr Roger Avenin
District and town councillor for Bradley Stoke South ward
Photo: Archive image of Cllr Roger Avenin inset over a representative image of a two-storey Mcdonald’s restaurant with drive-through lane.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 32). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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