Local Residents Against McDonald's
EAST LONDON, ENGLAND
THE BIG Mac chain wants to extend its empire by building a new drive-through restaurant in Walthamstow - but already it faces strong opposition. McDonald's has submitted two planning applications earmarking part of the London Transport-owned car park opposite Blackhorse Road Tube station. Within days of the announcement, a petition has been launched by people living nearby in Forest Road and Blackhorse Lane.
Spokeswoman Katy Andrews told the Guardian: "It's horrifying - the traffic, the litter, the smell!"
She said that controlled parking zones had been set up in the neighbourhood to deter commuters who had been leaving their cars all day in streets.
"It would be madness to cut down on the designated parking space available for those going on the Tube and the Barking to Gospel Oak line. We need more parking space, not less," she said.
Ms Andrews is also concerned about the effect on traffic in the busy Forest Road and Ferry Lane.
"In the evening when people are trying to come out of the car park on to Forest Road, it causes terrific tailbacks. If we have a drivethrough, it will be worse - and it may extend the jams into other parts of the day," she said.
If the plan gets the go-ahead, she fears for the future of the existing food shops - a kebab restaurant, a fish and chip shop and a sandwich bar - on the corner of Forest Road and Blackhorse Lane.
"The owners live on the premises and they are members of our community," she said. His near neighbour in Forest Road, Stephen Ward, has seen the plans and says the proposed restaurant would take up a quarter of the car park. It is intended that customers should use the same main entrance.
"We have only recently had a scheme introduced to make this corner safer. If the McDonald's goes ahead, it will delay traffic and be an accident hazard," he said A council spokesman confirmed two identical planning applications had been submitted without any prior talks with the council.
The usual consultation process with nearby' residents will be carried out and a decision is not expected before June, he said.
McDonald's is already in conflict with the council over its conversion of The Fountain pub in Sewardstone Road, Chingford.
Though it was entitled to turn the pub into an ordinary restaurant without planning permission, it also built a drive-through road and put up illuminated signs. The council stopped the use as a drive-through and there is to be a public inquiry.
No-one from the restaurant chain was available for comment when the Guardian went to press.
Walthamstow Against McDonald's