|2,500 residents have pledged their opposition to the proposed opening of a
new McDonald's store on the site of a well loved pub 'The Hinchley Wood', in
Hinchley Wood, Kingston, Surrey - just outside London.
On Sunday 13th December - a protest bus and a van occupied the car park on the site, backed by about 100 local visitors during Monday 14th. Their banner, draped for all to see, read '2500 Local Residents Say NO To McDonald's!'.
The pub is virtually the only local focal point for the community in the neighbourhood and residents are outraged that this is being taken away from them for the benefit of a junk food multinational chain. And indeed, a company which has been found by the High Court to be exploiting children, paying low wages, and deceiving the public by promoting their high fat products as nutritious.
The residents are fed up with their previous protests being ignored by local Councillors and planners and have enthusiastically backed the continuing occupation. The occupation seems secure at the moment, but it is expected that there will be moves to instigate legal proceedings to try to eventually obtain an eviction order.
The site, currently owned by a brewery, was to have been handed over to McDonald's at 2pm on Monday but McDonald's seem to have gone to ground in the light of this week's developments. In contrast, local and national media have attended and noted the occupation.
All over the country, whenever the global hamburger corporation plans to open a new store, local residents saturate planning committees with objections, and organise angry public meetings and protests. In many instances they have succeeded in getting planning permission refused, or forced McDonald's to abandon their plans (such as at 2 sites in Hornsey and E.Finchley, North London).
But many are fed up with the planning process and Council politics stacked in favour of big business. The Hinchley Wood occupation is a big step forward in the UK, and will give great encouragement to all those seeking effective ways to defend their communities and their interests as residents, in the face of the invasion of profiteering chains.