A petition objecting to the planned McDonald’s restaurant and drive-thru at the A331/A31 Tongham services has reached more than 2,000 signatures.

The petition was launched by the Tice’s Meadow Bird Group on November 20 and reached the 2,000 mark by last Thursday, November 23.

The group helps manage the Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve in Badshot Lea and is concerned at the negative impacts McDonald’s could have on the reserve and bird sanctuary.

In a letter to the Herald, printed in full on Page 10 of this week's paper, the group said: “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, repeatedly ignoring the presence of two nature reserves bordering the site.” 

The community agrees with the group and have taken to social media and to the petition’s page on Change.org to voice their concerns too.

“Tice’s Meadow is an oasis of wildlife in an increasingly busy and built up area. McDonald’s do not control their litter or educate their customers so the litter ends up everywhere,” said one petitioner.

“There is already a drive- thru McDonald’s within one mile and the litter from that strews roadsides for a five mile radius,” said another.

Farnham Residents councillor Catherine Powell is also “extremely concerned” at the proposal for a 24/7 McDonalds right next to the Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve.

She said: “Every year Tice’s Meadow goes from strength to strength, this proposed development puts it at risk in a period when increasing biodiversity is a recognised national and international priority.”

Another Farnham Residents councillor, Chris Jackman, a volunteer with Tice’s Meadow Bird Group, spoke about the issue live on BBC Radio Surrey on Tuesday.

He said: “The worry here is that people are going to be using the land further into Tice’s to be doing what they should be doing in the picnic area. It will bring litter pollution and rubbish everywhere which is not acceptable.”

Guildford borough councillors Sallie Barker and Matt Furniss have already met McDonald’s to raise the community’s concerns.

Responding, McDonald’s say they will undertake three litter picks a day up to 150 metres from the site, and plan to manage the new natural area behind the site.

Michelle Monaghan