A proposed service station and McDonald’s drive-thru off the A30 was panned as being more suitable for Slough than East Devon as the blueprints were rejected.
District council planning chiefs refused the scheme near Ottery St Mary this morning (Monday) after hearing it would ‘stick out like a sore thumb’.
The meeting heard the bid would ‘harm’ the site at Straightway Head Junction, next to the Daisymount roundabout, ‘forever’.
East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Development Management Committee went against the recommendation of officers by turning down the plans by nine votes to six.
They could do a whole lot better with the design and this is the kind of thing I would expect to see on the outskirts of Slough – Cllr Paul Hayward
The proposals included:
- A petrol filling station with five pumps;
- A forecourt shop/sales building measuring 500 sq 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.
Councillor Alan Cook, of West Hill parish council, called for the scheme to be refused as it would attract people from a wide area, increase traffic and urbanise the rural area.
He said the site cannot be landscaped and would have a detrimental impact on the rural environment.
Cllr Jess Bailey added: “This is on the top of a highly-prominent hill, is of an urban design, and as it is close to Exeter Airport.
“It can never be properly landscaped and it will always stick out like a sore thumb.
“It will cause significant detriment to the landscape and a two-storey McDonald’s will harm the site forever.”
Proposing refusal, Cllr Kathy McLauchlan, who represents the Whimple ward in which the site lies, said she was against the scheme due to the significant harm it would cause the open countryside.
Cllr Ollie Davey added that, with service stations in Honiton and Exeter, this scheme was not needed.
Cllr Paul Arnott said: “A drive-thru McDonald’s won’t serve the needs of any motorists making a long-distance journey, but will increase the traffic flow and make the area more dangerous.
“I enjoy McDonald’s, but this is the wrong place for this.”
Cllr Paul Hayward added: “They could do a whole lot better with the design and this is the kind of thing I would expect to see on the outskirts of Slough.
“It is a blight of the landscape and they should come back and build something aesthetically pleasing and not crowbar the committee into making a decision.”
Jason Lowes, the agent speaking on behalf of the applicant, said it was a ‘well-designed scheme’, would provide somewhere for motorists to safely stop and rest.
He added that the new plans were smaller and less-intrusive than a previously-consented scheme.
Planning permission for a much larger service station – that also included a hotel – has previously been granted for the plot.
Agreeing with the applicant, Cllr Helen Parr said: “While the extant scheme may not be implemented, it could be, and therefore this application is preferable as there is much less landscape impact.
“This is preferable, there will be social and economic benefits, and the harm won’t be there to the wider landscape.”
The committee rejected the scheme on the grounds it would cause ‘significant harm in the open countryside in terms of landscape impact’ and that it was ‘unsustainable’.
They added that only very limited weight should be given to the fallback and previously consented scheme.
Cllr Arnott said it was clearly not going to happen and be implemented as 12 years has passed since permission was given.