Disappointment after chamber approves McDonald’s drive-through plans in St Ives

PUBLISHED: 11:20 26 January 2017 | UPDATED: 13:38 26 January 2017

Jean Tarling and David Jacobs opposite the proposed development site.

Jean Tarling and David Jacobs opposite the proposed development site.

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A resident living in St Ives says she feels “let down” by town councillors, after they approved a development which could see a drive-through McDonald’s built in the town.

Jean Tarling and David Jacobs Jean Tarling and David Jacobs

Jean Tarling, of Rookery Close, moved to St Ives to retire some 20 years ago, but now faces the possibility of having two drive-through restaurants and a Subway store as her neighbours – something, she says, has not been properly considered.

“It will be terrible,” she told The Hunts Post.

“I recently stayed with my granddaughter in London and at the bottom of her flats there was a drive-through and although we were quite high up, you always knew what was happening. There was horn blowing and people would have their windows down with music blaring.”

Mrs Tarling, who attended the planning meeting at St Ives Town Council on January 11 with her neighbour David Jacobs, said letters informing residents were sent out by the council in December, but that the closing date for objections on January 3 was too soon.

Mrs Tarling says this was pushed back to January 10, but feels it couldn’t have been enough time for the council to review them before the meeting the next day.

“It was all cut and dried and there was no leeway at all,” she added.

“I’ve had nightmares about this and I’m really cross about it. It does feel like a stitch-up.

Mr Jacobs added: “We really don’t want it. They need a proper barrier like the one on the bus way, or laurel bushes so you can’t see it.

“The developers have a similar one at Caxton Gibbet, but there is no housing anywhere near it. It’s on a trunk road, so it pulls in the traffic and it’s perfect for it. I don’t understand the positioning of this one.”

Lodged by The Abbey Group (Cambridgeshire) Limited, plans propose to erect two restaurant and drive-through buildings for McDonald’s and Costa, with a third space shared between Subway and a yet-to-be-agreed tenant.

The proposal, at the Stocks Bridge site, also hopes to create more than 100 jobs. but the residents say the development will bring problems such as food smells, litter, noise, and traffic, and has even made Mrs Tarling think about moving.

She said: “I feel very let down by the town council. Only one of the councillors stood up [at the meeting] and said, ‘Have you thought about the residents living so close to this?’ They said they will make it silent but you’ll still get food smells and coffee and I don’t want that.

“I think it’s a very bad thing and that the people of St Ives have not been told properly. They have not considered the people who live directly in the vicinity.”

St Ives Town Council has sent its recommendation for approval to Huntingdonshire District Council.

In its letter, it said: “Overall, the town council considers that the benefits of additional jobs and the creation of an eating facility for local workers outweigh the loss of green space.”

It added: “The land provides a strategic gap between St Ives town and parish of Needingworth, which is helping to prevent coalescence.”

The letter did, however, say that 24-hour operation on the site would not be supported by the council, and that, if granted, spill lighting should be limited.

To view the plans, visit huntingdonshire.gov.uk.

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