'˜It will cause havoc' - Village-like Sheffield community voice opposition to potential McDonald's plans
It's the hot topic on everyone's agenda in this strong village-like Sheffield community.
When the news filtered through McDonald’s had their eye on the empty South Yorkshire Police training centre in Ecclesfield, many said they were left scratching their heads with disbelief.
Concerns over traffic on The Common are a big issue already.
Residents and nearby businesses fear noise and litter could be increased by the fast-food giant’s planned expansion into the village.
With more than 80 people opposing the plans on Sheffield Council’s planning website, it is an issue that has got people fired up for a fight.
“We don’t want it, we don’t need it,” says Travellers Inn pub manager Ann Martin.
The 51-year-old’s pub is a stone’s throw away across the road from the former South Yorkshire Police training centre, the location where McDonald’s bosses want to set up a 24-hour restaurant kitted out with a car park, small children’s play area and drive-thru.
The company said in its application 65 jobs, a mix of full and part-time positions, would be created.
Building firms and suppliers would be chosen from Ecclesfield and the surrounding areas, it added.
“I could list a number of reasons why I opposed McDonald’s coming here,” said Ann, taking a break from pulling pints and checking on the kitchen.
“I live upstairs, the lights and the noise would be constant. I’ll be surprised if I get any sleep.
“If it gets the go-ahead, I’ll be getting people bringing McDonald’s over into my beer garden which I don’t want.
“I don’t think they realise it’s a residential area and lots of people couldn’t really believe they were considering such a place. The traffic is horrendous already.”
The effect on trade that is also worrying Ann.
The promotional pub posters shout about their £4.99 beer and burger meal deal – McDonald’s would introduce a real battle of the burgers.
Ann said: “We’d be in direct competition for sure. We sell decent food at a good price but if people want something quick then McDonald’s is there. I don’t know for certain how much it will affect trade but it’s definitely going to have an impact.
“The parish council have objected to it.
“They’ve made it clear to us they’re fully against it. It’s whether the city council take the same view. I fear they might have different ideas.”
Ecclesfield city councillor Pauline Andrews is against the development.
“Lots of residents have got in touch with me about this issue,” Coun Andrews said.
“Personally, I think the location is completely unsuitable in its current form.
“It’s too near a lot of houses and I understand their concerns.
“The roads and traffic are so bad already. I’ve been fighting about getting a crossing installed on The Common. Apart from at Morrisons, there really isn’t a suitable place to cross.
“There are other pieces of land in the ward that would be a better fit for a McDonald’s. The location they have put forward is too problematic.”
Pensioners David and Mollie Hague live on Green Lane just yards from the planned site.
Traffic and concerns about gangs of youths played on their minds as they spoke in their conservatory overlooking their immaculate garden.
The pair have been together for around 60 years and have lived in the house since 1958. They have seen no end of changes in Ecclesfield.
“I can remember looking across the road to where the bus depot is now and seeing lovely green fields with cows in,” David said with a smile.
“I’ve never really moved out of the area.
“I like it here, but I’ve seen lots of change.
David is opposed to McDonald’s.
“It will cause havoc, there’s no two ways about it,” he said.
“We have enough problems with the bus depot, with wagons parking in front of my drive. With McDonald’s being 24 hours, we’ll be able to hear it all the time.”
Two doors up from the Hague’s is 71-year-old Albert Briggs. He, like many others on Green Lane, is against plans.
“I just can’t see how the council can pass this. There’s so much opposition – people are really up in arms about it.”
The increase in traffic is already a concern for parents Sarah Ridge and Nick Grayson.
The Green Lane pair, who have children aged eight and two, have also objected to the plans.
“Traffic is bad enough with the bus depot around 5pm. We don’t need a McDonald’s,” Sarah said.
But 26-year-old Natalie Wilson has a different point of view.
She is in favour of the plans, but admits she understands the concerns other people raise.
“I’m all for it. It’s going to create much needed jobs. I do think it’s good for the area,” said Natalie
“I do go to McDonald’s and I would have to go to Hillsborough or Meadowhall. It’s another option to eat out in the area.
“The traffic concerns though, I can understand. The Common is really bad anyway with people turning into Morrisons. The traffic lights need sorting for the junction.”
Bus drivers on break from the Stagecoach depot on Green Lane had mixed views.
One, who did not want to named, said he was in favour of the plans, saying nothing was open early in a morning to get a bit to eat.
But another driver disagreed, fearing accessibility for buses would get worse.
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