Surrey reserve threatened by new McDonald's


A popular birding site in Surrey is under threat by the proposed construction of a McDonald's, prompting the launch of a petition.

Situated near Badshot Lea, Tice's Meadow is one of the most-visited nature reserves in the county – but the fast-food chain has submitted plans to build a new 24-hour drive-through within the Tice's Meadow and Tongham Ponds Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI).

A map detailing where the McDonald's would be built within the Tice's Meadow and Tongham Ponds SNCI (Tice's Meadow Bird Group).

The Tice's Meadow Bird Group has voiced concern over the proposals, explaining that the construction will have a detrimental impact on wildlife at the reserve and in the wider SNCI – and that the creation of the existing service station by the proposed area has already negatively impacted the area. The exact area that McDonald's hopes to build on supported a territorial Common Nightingale in the summer, as well as several warbler species.

Mark Elsoffer, secretary of the Tice's Meadow Bird Group, said: "Any further development could render this vital natural artery useless and materially harm the nature conservation interests of the SNCI. The proposed site is also wholly within land designated as countryside in the Guildford Borough Local Plan, which describes the area as ‘an important open gap between Ash and Tongham and the town of Aldershot' and providing ‘a green corridor and tranquil setting with considerable biodiversity value'.

"The proposed restaurant will have a significant negative impact on many sensitive and protected habitats and species through increased disturbance, noise, visual impact, litter, odour, light pollution and air pollution. The developer's planning application fails to properly address these concerns.

"The developer proposes to offset the damage they will cause by erecting some bird and bat nestboxes on land it owns to the north of the site. Restoration of this land to an ecology-rich area was a planning condition for development of Tongham Services. Three years after the services opened and it's still not been completed. What hope do we have that the developer will keep to any new promises they make?"

A petition – which can be signed here – has been launched to stop the creation of the new McDonald's.

Tice's Meadow, a former quarry, has been converted into a dynamic nature reserve with approximately 1,115 species of wildlife recorded (Tony Hordern).