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New McDonald’s bid for controversial drive-thru on A31 at Picket Post
FAST food giant McDonald’s has launched another bid to open a restaurant and drive-thru complex that will create more than 60 jobs.
The company has drawn up a multi-million-pound plan to create an outlet on the A31 near Ringwood by transforming the former Little Chef building at Picket Post.
But proposals to include a drive-thru lane and an outdoor seating area were rejected by the National Park Authority (NPA) earlier this year.
Critics said the scheme would destroy a buffer between the building and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). They also issued warnings about litter and light pollution.
Drawing board Now McDonald’s has gone back to the drawing board and devised a new scheme that aims to satisfy its critics.
The company’s latest planning application includes a 22-page design and access statement that says: “A robust landscaping scheme is proposed at the site to overcome the concerns raised by objectors. A bespoke ‘litter fence’ will be erected to help prevent litter from escaping from the site and into the National Park.
“A green screen will be erected along the drivethru lane to dissuade customers from leaving their vehicles and gaining access to the National Park from the site.”
The statement says lighting levels along the northern boundary of the site have been “considerably reduced” by altering the elevation of the lights.
It adds: “A comprehensive tree survey, landscape plans and lighting assessment have been submitted. The documents confirm that any impact on the SSSI is negligible.
“The bolstered landscaping will ensure that the site will be contained and open views to the site will be limited.
“We’re confident the proposals will ensure thedevelopment and operation will have a limited impact on the National Park.”
McDonald’s says the scheme will create 65 full and part-time jobs.
An application to turn the former Little Chef building into a restaurant/takeaway was approved by the NPA last year.
However, a proposal to add a drive-thru lane and other facilities was thrown out by the same organisation in May, against the advice of planning officers.
NPA member John Sanger said: “It would be naive to think that this scheme will enrich the community in any way.”
But Maureen Holding supported the proposal, saying the site was currently an eyesore.
She added: “I’m sure a company such as McDonald’s will cooperate with the NPA and help us achieve the things we want.”
The outlet, which will create at least 75 jobs, was approved by New Forest District Council in June.
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