Controversial plans to build drive through McDonald's in Rugby town centre look likely to be approved

Plans to build a McDonald's at the former Gala Bingo site in Rugby town centre look set to be approved this week - despite a range of objections.

The former Gala Bingo site is currently being used as a pay and display car park, but, should the plans go ahead, a two-storey McDonald's complete with drive through facilities and a customer car park will be built.

How the restaurant would look as viewed from Evereux Way.

How the restaurant would look as viewed from Evereux Way.

It would be the the fourth McDonald's in the Rugby area (if the A45 branch is included), and the second in the town centre - with the Market Place McDonald's located only around 320 metres (or a five-minute walk) away.

Rugby council's planning department has recommended that the plans be approved and councillors are due to make a final decision at a planning meeting this Wednesday, June 19.

But residents, councillors, Cemex (which has offices adjoining the site), and Rugby council's own environmental health department have fielded a range of objections - chiefly that the development could lead to more traffic problems and more pollution.

Cllr Noreen New has objected to the plans on the basis that the town should be more diverse - there are already a number of fast food outlets in the town centre and there is already a McDonald's drive through at Junction One.

The overall plans for the site, showing the access from Evereux Way.

The overall plans for the site, showing the access from Evereux Way.

She added that the building of a branch on the Gala site could worsen traffic problems, cause more littering and encourage unhealthy eating.

In 2018 Marion Nash, at the time a Lib Dem councillor for Rokeby and Overslade, told the Advertiser: "This is not the type of development that we want to see on this important site in Rugby town centre.

“Should this planning application be approved and implemented, one of the first things that visitors will see on arrival to Rugby is a major McDonald’s drive through, which does not reflect the diversity and culture that abounds within the town and is so valued by the local community.”

One resident objected to the plans because they felt there was no need for another McDonald's in the town, they were concerned about traffic and they questioned where the drivers using the Gala site as a car park would park once work began on the restaurant.

Cemex objected to the plan for several reasons, including concern that the access to their offices - which are soon to be used as their HQ - will be affected as it will be shared with access to the restaurant.

Warwickshire County Council's highways department objected to the first version of the proposals on the basis that the transport assessment was flawed and that there were safety concerns over the proposed access to the site from Evereux Way.

Changes to the plan saw the objection being withdrawn providing some conditions were met, but Rugby council's environmental health team still believe the development will lead to additional traffic and have a detrimental impact on air quality.

Responding to concerns over the development promoting unhealthy eating, increasing littering and constituting an unneeded increase in fast food outlets, Rugby's planning department stated that none of these matters are grounds to reject a planning application.

On the traffic issues, a report prepared by Rugby council states: "Based on the advice of the Highway Authority it is considered that the development will not have an unacceptable impact on highway safety or have a severe impact on the safe and efficient operation of the highway network."

For more information, click here and search for reference: R17/0971.