McDonald’s drive-thru and A30 service station on outskirts of Ottery St Mary on verge of netting go-ahead

Plans for a ‘landmark’ service station featuring a McDonald’s drive-thru on the outskirts of Ottery St Mary look set to be given the green light. 

The fast food giant has set its sights on the major development at Straightway Head Junction next to the Daisymount roundabout.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Development Management Committee will decide the fate of the bid on Tuesday, December 3. Officers have recommended it is approved.

Proposals include:

  • A petrol filling station with five pumps;
  • A forecourt shop/sales building measuring 500sq m located in the centre of the site comprising a sales area, a hot food and coffee outlet;
  • A total of 103 car parking spaces, including 81 light vehicle spaces, four disabled spaces, 10 motorcycle spaces, eight HGV/coach spaces and two electric vehicle charging points;
  • A two-storey building with accompanying drive-thru and associated outdoor play area. The applicant has stated that McDonald’s is the intended operator.

A report to committee members, advising them to grant the bid permission, states: “The proposal has the support of Highways England, who have advised that there is a need for a comprehensive service area facility on the A30/A303 in Devon, and that they support the principle of the proposal of a trunk road service area at this location.

“Furthermore, Highways England have advised that the roadside services scheme is in compliance the current policies.

“The proposed design and layout of the development would create a landmark roadside services scheme alongside the A30 that would meet an established need and perform an important road safety function by providing opportunities for the travelling public to stop and take a break by closing the existing gap in the provision of roadside facilities along this section of the A30.

The site near the Daisymount roundabout near Ottery St Mary and Whimple.

The site near the Daisymount roundabout near Ottery St Mary and Whimple.

“The site is considered to be well-located in terms of providing an additional roadside service facility to perform the required road safety function which, when coupled with job creation during construction, longer-term employment opportunities within the petrol filling station, shop and the drive-through building, and the contribution to the local economy that would be derived from this scheme, are considered to be significant social and economic benefits that outweigh the limited and localised visual impact and landscape harm.”

The scheme has won support from Ottery Town Council, but West Hill Parish Council unanimously opposed the plans.

Whimple Parish Council said it could not support the scheme if the food outlet was open 24 hours-a-day.

Councillor Jess Bailey, who represents the West Hill and Aylesbeare ward on EDDC, has also opposed the plans.

She says that she is astonished that, with the backdrop of a climate change and ecological emergency, council officers are supporting the development of a petrol station and two-storey McDonald’s drive-thru on top of a very large hill.

But officers have said that the drive-through would not have such a large visual impact that it would be so harmful as to refuse planning permission.

Permission has been previously granted to build a roadside service area at the site.

The application site for the new McDonald's and petrol station in red.

The application site for the new McDonald’s and petrol station in red.

The report adds: “This proposal is for a policy compliant roadside services development on a site where the need has long been accepted and where the principle of development has been established through the grant of outline planning permissions since 1994 and the implementation of a reserved matters permission.

“While the weight that should be attributed to this ‘fall-back’ position is questionable given the length of time the planning permission has been kept alive with no further development on the site, coupled with concerns about whether the previously consented scheme is commercially viable, it is accepted that there is an extant planning permission for a substantially larger scheme on the site which would have a far greater impact than the proposed roadside services.

“The long-term employment opportunities within the petrol filling station, shop and the drive through building and the contribution to the local economy that would be derived from this scheme are considered to be significant social and economic benefits that outweigh the limited and localised visual impact and landscape harm.”

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