Community campaign considering further legal action against multinational.
Community activists from the campaign group NoMacInF are considering whether there are further options to appeal the planning inspector’s June decision in favour of the proposed Fishponds Road MacDonald’s.
They are exploring whether a judicial review could overturn the planning inspector’s decision which they say demonstrated undue sympathy between the planning inspector and the multinational. Judicial reviews are the mechanism by which parties in a court case can challenge the lawfulness of a decision made by a public body.
McDonald’s won its appeal against the council’s refusal to grant permission for the ‘drive-thru’ on June 14th. The council had refused the application based on the grounds of traffic impact on Fishponds Road.
Active local campaign, NoMacInF, also achieved ‘rule 6’ status during the appeal hearing, putting them on an equal footing with the council and the company throughout the proceedings. NoMacInF’s grounds for campaigning against the ‘drive-thru’ also included air quality and public health concerns and concerns about pollution affecting neighbouring residents.
NoMacInF say they’ve been meeting with local councillors Lesley Alexander, Conservative for Frome Vale, and Labour’s Mhairi Threlfall, for Eastville, along with consulting planning experts.
“We have not ruled out the possibility of pursuing this though the High Court. We have until July 28 to lodge a challenge,” explained NoMacInF chair Mike Jempson.
“In our view the Inspector’s report shows a clear bias towards the developer. His line seems to be that as we didn’t have the resources to match McDonald’s they must win automatically. We doubt that he read all the technical evidence we presented on public health grounds, and in our opinion he showed a callous disregard for those who will have to put up with the hazards and inconvenience McDonald’s will bring to the area.”
The planning application was first submitted in 2014 and prompted the formation of the NoMacInF campaign group, which garnered support from local politicians. Their campaign has included petitions, formal objections, demonstrations and lobbying of Bristol City Council.
McDonald’s have been met with similar opposition to planning applications in other towns and cities across the UK in recent years.
[Disclosure: Mike Jempson is a director of the Cable.]