The controversial plan to build a new McDonald’s at the edge of a Herefordshire town will be decided by councillors next week. And whichever way they go, a lot of people are going to be unhappy.

The planned drive-through takeaway and sit-in restaurant at the roundabout junction of the A40 and A449 northeast of Ross-on-Wye would be only the third such outlet in the county after the two in Hereford.

But the plan, revised and resubmitted a year ago, has split the area, with a huge number of submissions to the planning consultations, both for and against. The Herefordshire Council website currently lists over 450 individual messages backing the plan, and nearly 400 opposing it.

There have been no formal objections on grounds of road safety, drainage, ecology, visual amenity or noise.

But the council’s public health consultant Dr Frances Howie said the plan “encourages car dependency at a time when the health harms of pollution and obesity which are associated with fuel emissions and a sedentary lifestyle are of particular concern” and would be near the John Kyrle High School.

“Childhood obesity in Herefordshire is already of concern, and at above average levels in comparison with other areas,” she said.

The town council has said it is “extremely concerned about the adverse impact this application would have on town-centre retail”.

And the St Marys Garden Village Action Group, representing residents of the neighbouring housing development, questioned the traffic modelling supplied with the application.

The group also maintains that McDonald’s “do not (and will not) own the land necessary for this application”, referring to a strip of access road which they claim belongs the estate’s developers and to the county council.

The area already has KFC, Burger King, Starbucks, Subway and Greggs outlets, according to a 58-page report for next Wednesday’s (July 26) meeting of the council’s planning and regulatory committee.

Since the May election, this now has a larger number of Conservative members, though as with the council as a whole, they do not form a majority.

Separate applications have been made regarding the restaurant’s external signage.