A recent proposal from McDonald's for a new establishment in the Ross North Ward has met with strong resistance from Saint Mary's Garden Village Resident's Action Group. The group, led by Debbie Hall, voiced its concerns at the Herefordshire Council Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting on Wednesday, July 26.

Plans for the McDonald's drive through were rejected at that meeting, however councillors have warned that the restaurant chain is likely to appeal the decision.

The action group alleges that the new McDonald's development will exacerbate local traffic congestion, leading to compromised safety and functionality of the local road network. According to an independent traffic assessment, traffic levels are expected to significantly exceed those cited by McDonald's. The report points specifically the unadopted roundabout at the village entrance, which highway engineers claim is not equipped to handle the additional traffic.

Furthermore, the proposed development could result in an additional one million vehicles per year, necessitating an increase in the width of the A40. This contradicts prior requirements for road calming measures and a reduction in the width of the same road as per section 278 by Eaton Stone.

Drawing traffic from nearby villages as well as the A40 and A449 roads, the development may undermine the existing transport plan's goal to reduce vehicle ingress for the sake of road safety and accident prevention.

The action group also raises questions about land ownership and upkeep responsibility. With each property owner in the village financially responsible for the maintenance of unadopted roads, lighting, and community areas, the additional one million visits per year could result in an unacceptable loss of amenity and privacy for residents.

The group warned of potentially harmful impacts on residents' mental and physical health due to increased noise, odour, litter, CO2 emissions, and rodent activity. They emphasised that there is no precedent for a drive-through establishment using an unadopted road on a housing estate, urging the council not to become the first to approve such a development.

The spokesperson further noted that the site already has approved planning permission for 12 affordable homes and expressed concerns that the McDonald's proposal might negatively impact Ross-on-Wye's local economy, which is already grappling with vacancies and struggling businesses.

It was added in the report to the meeting that Edenstone chairman, Martin Taylor, was quoted stating that despite the company's request for support to facilitate the highway entrance, such support "will not be forthcoming" from them.