McDonald’s plan for huge new gas station next to the A30 is suspended

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Plans for a new McDonald’s drive-thru as part of a massive new gas station just off the A30 have been postponed.

The fast food giant had hoped to open as part of a project that would also see a roadside service and gas station built for the Straightway Head Junction site, next to the Daisymount roundabout.

Officers had recommended that the East Devon District Council Development Management Committee approve the project at their meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

It would have included:

  • A petrol station with five pumps
  • A storefront / sales building of 500 m² located in the center of the site including a sales area, a hot spot and café.
  • A total of 103 parking spaces including 81 spaces for light vehicles, 4 spaces for disabled people, 10 spaces for motorcycles, 8 spaces for heavy goods vehicles / coaches and two charging stations for electric vehicles
  • A two-story building with drive-thru and associated outdoor play area. The applicant has stated that McDonalds’ is the intended operator

But advisers eventually agreed to defer the request until a next meeting because of their concerns about the project’s proposed design and allowing the production of CGI images that would give them a clear idea of ​​its impact on the landscape.

It came after a vote to approve the request was lost by seven to six, as was a vote for a site inspection to take place, and councilors struggled to argue a reason for denial.



Where the new McDonalds and gas station were to be built (Image shown to DMC)

A building permit for a much larger gas station also including a hotel had already been granted and agents said it had been implemented, so the principle of development had already been agreed.

Chris Rose, director of board development, explained why agents recommended the plans be approved.

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He said the proposal had the support of Highways England who indicated that there was a need for an installation on the A30 / A303 in Devon, and that they supported the principle of the proposal for an area of main road service at this location.

He added: “The site is considered to be well located in terms of providing an additional road service facility to fulfill the required road safety function.

“When combined with job creation during construction, the longer-term employment opportunities within the gas station, store and building by car and the contribution to the local economy that would result of this program are considered important social and economic benefits which outweigh the limited and localized visual impact and damage to the landscape.

Mr. Rose indicated that the principle of a gas station on the site has already been agreed. He said the officers’ opinion was that the larger program, which also includes a hotel and was initially agreed in 1997, renewed in 2002 and 2004, then saw reserved questions granted in 2007 and amended in 2011, has been implemented and remains in effect due to the construction of vehicular access to the site.



The site of the Daisymount roundabout with vehicular access which is considered to mean that the previous scheme was implemented while work began
The site of the Daisymount roundabout with vehicular access which is considered to mean that the previous scheme was implemented while work began

He added: “There are concerns as to whether the previously agreed project is commercially viable, but it is accepted that there is a building permit for a much larger project on the site which would have a much greater impact. than the road services offered.

Jason Lowes, on behalf of the applicant, added: “This site has approval for a larger project, but this is smaller and will meet the expectations of modern customers and a recognized need for highways in the region. . “

But local resident Paul Yeo questioned the need for this given there is a 24-hour gas station in Sowton, less than 10 minutes down the road. He added: “It will take money out of local businesses in Ottery St Mary, because the young people will go to McDonalds. The large site is not necessary.



The application site for the new McDonalds and the gas station in red

Cllr Alan Cook, on behalf of the West Hill Parish Council, added that they were concerned about the light pollution, the effect on the environment i.e. they would not be in favor of the location, and whether the amount of work performed was sufficient to claim the existing schedule. the authorization had been implemented.

Cllr Jess Bailey, who represents West Hill and Aylesbeare Ward, said she was shocked, horrified and astonished that with a backdrop of climate change and an ecological emergency, council officers are supporting the development of a resort- service and a two-story McDonalds. -through at the top of a very large hill.

She added, “It will cause great damage to the character and the landscape. The larger shot offered was a nicer shot and it will forever be an eyesore.



Cllr Bailey said he failed to meet landscaping requirements due to the unsympathetic design and threatens local shops and garages in village communities as people will call him on the way home in their place.

Cllr Ollie Davey told his fellow committee members that there were a number of reasons to reject what was a “horrible idea”.

He said a McDonald’s did not meet policy requirements as an essential service, that it was not sufficiently spaced because it was only 10 minutes from Exeter, and that its design meant that ‘it would be “up, visible and a stain on the landscape”.

He added: “I have serious concerns. They want to set up a 24-hour McDonalds there, which will be an absolute magnet for local residents and not just hungry travelers. There are a number of reasons to reject this horrible idea.

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But Cllr Tom Wright proposed that they take the officer’s recommendation and approve it. He said: “I think there is a need for a service area. Exeter station is already full at peak times and any service areas on the A30 that will reduce traffic in and out of the M5 at junction 30 would be welcome as it is already more difficult. It is a major highway and we need facilities for motorists who wish to stop.

Cllr David Key added: “I can’t see what the bad effect would be to have him there.”

A vote to approve the request as per the officer’s recommendation, but with a stronger worded condition on the color scheme was taken, but was lost by seven votes to six.

Cllr Geoff Pratt then proposed that a site visit take place to assess the visual impact, but that also fell by seven votes to six.



Cllr Geoff Pratt
Cllr Geoff Pratt

With the committee having to legally vote for something, not just against a request, Cllr Mike Howe, chairman of the committee, first said that while he was concerned it might stack up, he moved the denial for patterns of visual impact and design as there really wasn’t any other option.

But following a discussion with the agents, a recommendation was suggested to defer the request for additional information on the design and landscape of the system and some CGI images on what it will look like to be produced.

Councilors voted by 12 votes against one abstention in favor of this option. No date for his return to the committee has been set, but the next two meetings are scheduled to take place on January 7 and February 4, 2020.


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