Thousands sign petition to save Surrey reserve threatened by McDonald's


More than 5,000 people have signed a petition to try to stop the construction of a McDonald's next to the popular Tice's Meadow reserve in Surrey.

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).

Concerns have been raised about the negative impact this development would have on protected species and habitats in the immediate area, the visual impact on the nearby Surrey Hills National Landscape, flooding, traffic, highway safety, light pollution, noise pollution, litter, and odour.

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


Complaints to the council

Guildford Borough Council have received 129 comments from members of the public on the planning application, 125 of them objections. Surrey County Council's Highways Department have objected, requesting improvements to cycle and pedestrian access, further analysis of accident records, improvements to delivery and queuing arrangements, and an increase in parking spaces.

Surrey County Council's Flood Risk, Planning and Consenting Team has objected, disputing the developer's classification of the site as a minor development, and requesting a more sustainable and appropriate drainage scheme.

In its response, Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) stated that the developer has failed to recognise the presence of many protected and important species and habitats on and adjacent to the site. SWT also confirmed that the developer has failed to take into account the Site of Nature Conservation Interest with regards to the light pollution, noise, odour, dog walking, use of herbicide, impacts from construction, biodiversity net gain, and air pollution.

Objections 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.


Locals standing up for nature

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.

"Our full reasons for objecting to the proposed development, and a link to the Guildford Borough Planning Portal, can be found in an online petition."