Fury at plans to build McDonald's drive-thru in historic village

NOT Lovin’ it! Fury at plans to build 24-hour McDonald’s drive-thru in historic village amid fears of ‘antisocial behaviour and a danger to wildlife’

  • Residents have launched a highly-organised grassroots campaign to stop plans
  • They claim the proposed McDonald’s could affect wildlife and attract boy racers 

There has been a huge backlash against plans to build a 24-hour McDonald’s in a sleepy, picturesque village as residents worry about anti-social behaviour and the potential threat to wildlife.

A restaurant is being proposed on the A361 at Hilperton, near Trowbridge in Wiltshire.

It may be small, but it has a rich history with mention of the settlement in the Domesday Book in 1086.

Apart from a petrol station and a pub, the village doesn’t have very many shops or other amneities.

But locals are fuming at the plan to build a 24-hour, drive-thru fast food chain as they worry about it being built on a greenfield site and could potentially attract boy racers to the area.

Hilperton,Wiltshire,where fast food chain McDonalds have put in a planning application for a 24hr restaurant

Protesters stand on the Hilperton monument with their anti-McDonald’s banner on display

A man with a ‘Grumpy’ t-shirt on holding a ‘burger off’ sign as other protesters hold anti-McDonald’s signs

Pictured left, Rachel Kingsmill who set up the anti-McDonald’s Facebook group and has helped organise the fight back

Pictured, a meeting in Hilperton Village Hall to discuss the proposals. Mrs Kingsmill claims no one who attended spoke in favour of McDonald’s

A protester holds up a placard on the proposed site for the drive-thru McDonald’s restaurant

Now there has been a popular uprising as residents have launched a grassroots campaign against the McDonald’s. 

Rachel Kingsmill, 47, started a protest Facebook group, McDonald’s Hilperton – I’m NOT lovin’ it!, to fight back against the proposals.

She told Mail Online: ‘We live in an ancient semi-rural village which dates back to the Domesday Book.

‘It’s a nice place to live. We have families, working professionals, a local pub a dog walking field and there’s no big commercial zone, no big retail.

‘So, McDonald’s have applied for planning permission to build a very large 24-hour drive-thru restaurant on a green space on the edge of our village.

Hilperton is situated in Wiltshire in a semi-rural area. It is also classed as a ‘ceremonial county’

A ‘No to McDonald’s’ sign hangs on a wooden fence near the proposed site. It has proved controversial in the village

Residents fear the site could potentially be hazardous to wildlife and because of increased traffic

A church in the picturesque village of Hilperton, Wiltshire which dates back to the Mediaeval times

‘It’s on an already busy road, there’s no pavement, no crossing and it will be on the opposite side of the road to most children walking to and from school which we think is dangerous.

‘As far as we know, they’ve not consulted anybody that lives here. They haven’t spoken to the parish council and nd as far as I know, they’ve not spoken to any of the residents. 

‘But when we had our meeting, councillor, Ernie Clark stated that anybody can apply for permission to do anything and then it’s up for the people impacted by it to put forward their views and object or whatever. 

‘But I would have expected a big organisation like McDonald’s to engage the public before they even went ahead, because they spent money on the planning application.’

Mrs Kingsmill noted that there is already another McDonald’s not too far away from the proposed location.

She claims it has attracted antisocial behaviour with boy racers causing a nuisance.

She added: ‘McDonald’s does attract antisocial behaviour.

Hilperton is a pretty village and residents worry that the McDonadl’s could cause a whole range of issues

The old village stocks in Hilperton. Village stocks were used in medieval times as a form of punishment for minor offenders

The site where the restaurant will be. Residents object to the site as they claim it is greenfield

The village pub in Wiltshire, the Lion and Fiddle. The new McDonald’s could affect the businesses in the area

Hilperton is a picturesque village. All sorts of different people have banded together to protest the planned site

A young lady wears an anti-McDonald’s t-shirt. There has been an organised protest against the scheme

Hundreds of concerned villagers pack out the Hilperton Village Hall. There is a vocal majority who are against the plans

‘There is a 24-hour drive-thru on Bradley Road.

‘What happened was boy races started congregating in the car park and revving up and down the road late at night.

‘Now there’s barriers that close in the evening so nobody can enter the site. So all those boy racers will come to the Hilperton one instead.’

Although, the protesters claim that they are not against the site because it is McDonald’s but mostly because of the threat to wildlife.

‘It’s not because it’s a McDonald’s,’ Mrs Kingsmill added, ‘we would have the same concerns it if it was a Marks and Spencer.

‘Because we’re a village, we have a neighbourhood development plan.

‘So everybody who applies to build in the village has to take care of the badgers for example and other endangered species.

‘And we have a bat corridor along the proposed site.

‘Bats usually only come out when there is no light and having a great big neon light running 24 hours is obviously going to affect them.

Protesters attend near the site of the proposed restaurant. Many locals are concerned about antisocial behaviour

Although, many claim they are more concerned about wildlife than they are about the McDonald’s

An anti-McDonald’s banner hangs on a monument. Although, Mrs Kingsmill said she would be opposed if it was any other store and not just that it’s a McDonald’s

‘Plus, the light will attract insects and wildlife so it could potentially take a food source away from another area.’

Mum of one Jane Rigby, 37, said: ‘When it was first announced our initial concerns were the increase in antisocial behaviour from car meets, point to point racing especially being the only 24/7 location, these groups will pivot to here as a central meeting point.

‘There are also concerns regarding the increased traffic and noise pollution that this site will bring and the risk of fatalities due to the lack of suitable access from all areas. People will be walking on grass verges on 50mph roads.

 ‘I’m not an old person or soon to be pushing up the daisies like those who are pro the proposal believe everyone who is objecting to this is.’

When the village called a meeting to discuss the proposed site, around 200 people arrived.

Out of the hundreds of people, not one single person allegedly spoke out in favour of the restaurant.

Mrs Kingsmill said her organisation leaflet dropped the entire village to tell them about the public meeting. 

But there does seem to be some support as people tore down an anti-McDonald’s banner in favour of a new banner calling for the restaurant.

Although, the new banner is said to have caused damage to a monument due to someone ramming in metal pegs to keep it in place.

A consultation is currently in place but local politicians have criticised it as being “one sided”.

Mrs Kingsmill said her organisation leaflet dropped the entire village to tell them about a public meeting discussing the McDonald’s

But some people appear to be in favour of the proposed drive-thru as shown by this pro-McDonald’s banner

A mock-up of what the McDonald’s sign may look like made by an anti-drive-thru protester on the Facebook group

In an email seen by Mail Online, local councillor Antonio Piazza said: ‘McDonald’s should organise a meeting with the local parish council and meet residents face-to-face to understand their concerns.’

Dr Andrew Murrison, MP for Trowbridge, told BBC Radio Wiltshire: ‘Many of us are trying to enhance the townscape in and around Trowbridge. 

‘It’s difficult to see how this drive through with the associated clutter is going to improve the gateway to the town.

‘I am not surprised that I’m getting so many messages from constituents and residents about this proposal.’

A McDonald’s Spokesperson said: ‘We will take into consideration the feedback from the Hilperton community and further clarify our position on these points, should we receive a planning committee date.’

The planning application is on the Wiltshire Council’s planning portal.

Comments can be make until August 18 and the council hopes to decide on the application by October 10.

Mrs Kingsmill said the local Parish Council has set aside £15,000 to hire a planning consultant to help fight the proposals. 

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