Group objects to McDevelopment
By North Devon Journal | Thursday, October 25, 2012, 07:30
NEARLY 1,000 people have objected to proposals to build a McDonald's, hotel and restaurant in woods outside Bideford.
PROTEST: Chris Mitchell and others outside the woods. Picture: Paula Davies. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNPD20121022G-004_C
The objectors have joined a Facebook group called "Save Moreton Park Woods from McDonald's".
Plans to develop the site known as Atlantic Park, opposite Atlantic Village shopping outlet, in Clovelly Road, were revealed earlier this year.
Developers Wessex Projects Limited announced last week they had submitted the planning application to Torridge District Council.
The plans include a drive-through McDonald's, a 70 bedroomed Premier Inn and a Brewer's Fayre restaurant.
As well as the 120 jobs that would be created by the Premier Inn, Brewers Fayre and McDonald's, there would also be a huge boost to the construction industry with an estimated 200 people needed to develop the sites.
Whitbread, who would be running the Premier Inn and Brewer's Fayre, is aiming to give 50 per cent of jobs in new site openings to local unemployed people.
But despite the job creation Chris Mitchell, 33, from Bideford, doesn't believe the site is the right place for the development.
He said: "I understand that Bideford needs jobs but I just think placement is really bad.
"There are empty fields 100 metres up the road from the woods why can't those be used?
"I am sure farmers would get a good pay out.
"I have known the woods all my life and there are tonnes of birds in there and protected door mice.
"I know lots of people walk their dogs in there and we can't afford to lose anymore woodland.
"I found out from the Woodland Trust that Europe has a 40 per cent woodland coverage compared to the UK which only has 12 per cent.
"I have a seven-year-old daughter and she is excited about the possibility of McDonald's but she doesn't want it to go into the woods."
Chris set up the group in the summer and is hoping its numbers will continue to grow.
Visit www.facebook.com and search "Save Moreton Park Woods".
Torridge District Council will be deciding on the application in coming months.