Fringe Box



Protest Grows Over McDonald’s Plan at Tongham Wildlife Site

Published on: 16 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 18 Jan, 2024

Tice’s Meadow, Tongham © Kyle Russell

By David Reading

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition opposing McDonald’s application to build a 24-hour drive-through restaurant on the Tice’s Meadow and Tongham Ponds Site of Nature Conservation Interest. The campaign is spearheaded by the Tice’s Meadow Bird Group.

Major concerns have been raised about the negative impact the development might have on protected species and habitats in the nearby nature reserves.

Specific concerns have been raised about the increase in traffic, highway safety, light pollution, noise pollution, litter, and smells.

As of January 16, Guildford Borough Council has received 129 comments from members of the public, 125 of them objecting to the application (23/P/01831).

The site of the proposed restaurant is at the junction of the Hog’s Back and A331 Blackwater Valley Route, at Tongham.

Surrey Wildlife Trust has protested that the developer has failed to recognise the presence of many protected and important species and habitats on and next to the site.

They state that the developer has failed to take into account the Site of Nature Conservation Interest with regards to light pollution, noise, smells, impacts from construction, biodiversity net gain, and air pollution.

They also protest about what they say is a failure to deliver previous commitments to habitat improvements associated with the construction of Tongham Services.

Mark Elsoffer, Secretary of the Tice’s Meadow Bird Group, said “All of our volunteers have been heartened by the wide-ranging support we’ve received from across the local community. We are determined to fight this highly inappropriate development that will blight the local nature reserves if allowed to go ahead. We are calling on our local elected officials to listen to their residents’ concerns and stand up for nature.”

Tice’s Meadow is a community-led nature reserve on the site of the former Farnham Quarry, covering 150 acres. The habitats on site consist of a mosaic of open water, gravel islands and scrapes, reed beds, scrub, woodland, ephemeral ponds and wet and dry grassland. The site is designated a Site of Nature Conservation Interest, and is registered as an Asset of Community Value with both Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils.

The site was bought by Surrey County Council in December 2021, with funding from Hampshire County Council, Guildford Borough Council, Rushmoor Borough Council, Waverley Borough Council, and Farnham Town Council.

According to the conservationists, objections to the McDonald’s scheme have also been received from Farnham Town Council, Rushmoor Borough Council Public Health, Tongham Parish Council, Surrey County Archaeologist, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, the Farnham Biodiversity Group, Badshot Lea Community Association, Save Surrey’s Countryside, the Fleet Pond Society, the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership and Blackwater Valley Friends of the Earth.

See also: Conservationists Fear Threat to Wildlife in McDonald’s Drive-Through Plan

Further information on the campaign: Petition · Stop McDonald’s at Tice’s Meadow ·

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