A meeting of disgruntled locals from the Fishponds area took place at All Saints church on Saturday afternoon to discuss ways to oppose the plans to build a McDonalds on Fishponds Road. The gathering, attended by MP Kerry McCarthy and councillors Mhairi Threlfall and Mahmadur Khan, sought to form strategies to combat the plans to demolish the disused Bristol Tile warehouse and replace it with a two-storey, 24 hour outlet of the fast-food giant.

Locals listen to councillor Mhairi Threlfall
Locals listen to councillor Mhairi Threlfall // Credit: MP Kerry McCarthy

Around 80 people attended, and discussion focused on the importance of submitting objections to the planning and development branch of Bristol City Council. Central to this was the issue of ‘material objections’, which form the basis for the decision of the planning committee.

Many attendees were shocked when it was announced that under current regulations, an objection would not be considered valid if it focused on the issue of public health. The close proximity of three schools to the proposed location was of clear concern to the majority of those in the meeting, and questions were raised as to whether McDonalds had a deliberate ploy of targeting schools.

Talking afterwards, Labour MP Kerry McCarthy said that a particular concern was the drive-through aspect, which she believed would cause greater litter not only outside the restaurant, but along the entirety of Fishponds Road.  ‘The location is very unsuitable, and there are some very powerful reasons for it not to go through. I believe we can succeed’, she said.

Councillor Mahmadur Khan stated his concerns over ‘air pollution, noise pollution, increased traffic congestion’, adding ‘We don’t need that, we are already struggling’. Khan also stressed that issues such as the public health needed to be added to the list of things needed to be considered by planning committees when considering applications.

Objections to the plans can be made until the 15th October through the Bristol City Council website, or through an e-petition also on the Council website.

By Phil Mansell