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New McDonald's on A37 Little Chef site approved
6:00pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
PLANS for a new McDonald’s near Ringwood have been given the go ahead – and the scheme will create even more jobs than the 65 originally forecast.
But locals say they fear the move could create mess and even danger on the roads.
National Park chiefs approved an application to convert the former Little Chef complex on the A31 at Picket Post into a restaurant and drive-thru.
A previous proposal to redevelop the site was rejected earlier this year on environmental grounds.
But a revised scheme was backed by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) after McDonald’s pledged to screen the restaurant more effectively.
Due to open next spring, the outlet will employ up to 85 people – 20 more than originally envisaged by the company.
The only member of the NPA’s planning and development control committee who voted against the A31 scheme was Cllr Chris Lagdon, who had concerns about litter.
He said: “We are the custodians of the national park. McDonald’s have sorted out all the previous problems and submitted a very good application, but that will not stop litter spreading three or four miles in each direction.
“More people see the New Forest from the A31 than anywhere else.
“What they’re going to see in future is piles and piles of litter. I will not vote for something that will see the forest destroyed and defaced.”
But other members supported the proposal, saying the A31 already suffered from a serious litter problem.
A report to members said McDonald’s aimed to reduce the impact of the scheme by installing a “green screen” covered with climbing plants and a fence to prevent litter.
The company also said staff would carry out three litter picks a day.
Cllr Maureen Holding said: “Employment is crucial to the New Forest. Not everyone likes McDonald’s but they do provide a service and they do provide jobs.”
Richard Grant, who lives in Burley, said: “This is an appalling decision. A drive-thru will be extremely dangerous.
“This stretch of road has seen several deaths – that is why we wanted a 50mph restriction.
“Many no doubt will leave with burger and drink in hand as they re-enter the 70mph road.”
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