Andrew Watts, a representative of McDonald's, spoke in favour of the proposed fast-food establishment on the Ross-on-Wye bypass, at the Herefordshire Council Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting (July 26). He outlined several revisions made to the original plan in response to community feedback and highlighted the potential benefits the new restaurant could bring to the local area. The application was later turned-down by the council.

Mr Watts told the meeting that amendments to the initial application include the transformation of a plot previously designated for future development into a landscape and biodiversity enhancement area, boasting a more sustainable drainage design. The multinational fast-food corporation also reduced their proposed opening and servicing hours, in response to the concerns of nearby residents. In addition, measures to prevent misuse of the site such as entrance road gates were discussed.

Further demonstrating their commitment to sustainability, McDonald's proposed the inclusion of solar panels and electric vehicle charging points at the location. The company's plan has garnered local backing, evidenced by the submission of 417 letters of support to the Council.

Transport considerations have also been factored into the revised plan. McDonald's transportation experts have put significant effort into creating an acceptable design layout concerning parking provision and the drive-through queue. The transport assessment provided assures the council that the proposed traffic increase can be accommodated without significant impact on the existing road network; this includes proposed widening of the Ross roundabout.

Mr Watts took the opportunity to underline McDonald's commitment to local investment, promising the creation of at least 120 jobs for the Ross North Ward's residents. Highlighting McDonald's investment of over £43 million annually in staff training, he emphasised the opportunity for employees to access a range of qualifications, including nationally recognised foundation degrees and apprenticeships.

The proposed McDonald's branch will be locally franchised, promising additional benefits to the community. This includes a firm commitment to waste management, with initiatives such as recycling bins across all restaurants and a partnership with 'Litter Lotto' as part of a long-term commitment to combating litter across the UK.

Mr Watts expressed McDonald's satisfaction with the officer's recommendation and their excitement to make a long-term investment in Ross-on-Wye.