Decision made on new McDonald’s drive-thru as Wherstead speed limit changes also unveiled
PUBLISHED: 13:06 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:22 30 July 2020
Plans for a new drive-thru McDonald’s and services near a Suffolk village have been narrowly approved – and motorists should expect junction and speed limit changes too.
Babergh District Council’s planning committee approved an application to build a drive-thru restaurant for McDonald’s and a petrol station on land north of Bobbit’s Lane in Wherstead by just five votes to four.
MORE: Plans lodged for new services at Wherstead
The application, by major services operator Euro Garages Ltd and Pigeon Investment Management Ltd, will also feature junction improvements to the two teardrop-shaped roundabouts of the A137 close to the A14 junction 56 into more conventional circular shapes, while plans to reduce the speed limit there from 60mph to 40mph are also being planned.
Despite fears on traffic congestion, and light pollution, the proposals were narrowly approved.
Councillor Lee Parker said that the committee should not be maligning McDonald’s just because it was a fast food operator because “clearly the demand is there” and added: “There are clear economic benefits and I think it’s a good application”.
The development is set to create around 20 full time and 40 part time jobs.
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Matthew Wyatt, agent on behalf of the developers said that Euro Garages managed well over 4,000 services across the UK, Europe, Australia and the US, and said that most of the traffic using the site would be passing vehicles.
He added: “As such, we don’t aim to compete with similar restaurant and retail businesses in built-up centres.
“The application does include transport improvements, including replacement of sub-standard roundabouts which will increase capacity, thus reducing congestion.”
However, some concerns were raised that with the nearby 75-home development which has got outline planning permission and plans for new business parks, the community was being “swamped” and at risk of “urban sprawl”.
Robin Coates from the parish council said that while the reduced speed would improve safety it would also result in traffic being on the roundabouts longer and could actually make congestion worse.
MORE: Euro Garages bid for new Sproughton A14 services approved
Tom Hill, chairman of the Stour and Orwell Society said the rural approach would be “disfigured by the neon lights” which normally accompany petrol stations and drive-thrus.
Ward councillor Jane Gould said that the traffic impacts would “probably be far greater than the data shows”.
The approval follows a successful application by Euro Garages at the start of the year to create a new services off junction 54 of the A14 at Sproughton.
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