Ross-on-Wye town council voiced strong opposition against the McDonald's development application - turned down by county planners on Wednesday (July 26) – citing concerns over traffic, safety, loss of approved housing and violation of local planning policies.

The global fast food chain wanted to build a drive-thru restaurant on Gloucester Road, near the A40 junction with the A449, next to the new St Mary's Garden Village estate.

Cllr Shelly Foreman presented the council's objections at the Herefordshire Council Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting.

She emphasised that the application would lead to a significant surge in local traffic, negatively impacting the town centre.

Furthermore, she noted serious safety concerns, particularly for children attending the local John Kyrle High School.

The application, she highlighted, would also mean the loss of housing already approved, contravening various elements of the adopted Ross-on-Wye neighbourhood development plan. Several key policies were cited as reasons for the council's opposition, as follows:

Policy EN1, which focuses on the design quality, mandates all new developments to positively contribute to the local character in terms of scale, materials, form, layout, and historical character.

Policy EN2 relates to shop fronts and signage, insisting that they must respect local character and enhance their surroundings.

Policy EN4 pertains to infill and backland development. According to the town council, this application doesn't meet the stipulated criteria for approval.

Policy EN7 concerns key views, with the council suggesting that the proposed development fails to demonstrate how adverse impacts on these key views have been addressed.

Policy E1 demands that all employment developments respect local character, residential amenity, and highway safety, while policy E2 resists out-of-town retail development, particularly on a large scale.

Lastly, policy A1 promotes active travel, encouraging walking, cycling, disabled access, and public transport use. The council argues that the application does not contribute to these goals.

Given these conflicts with local planning policies, the Ross-on-Wye town council has recommended refusal of the proposed development application, which was unanimously backed by the committee's decision to refuse the application from the global fast food giant.

More than 450 messages were submitted to Herefordshire Council in support of the fast food restaurant, with nearly 400 opposing it.