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We are delighted that McDonald’s Restaurants has been refused consent to build part of a ‘drive-thru’ road on common land at Petridgewood near Redhill in Surrey.
McDonald’s applied to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, via the Planning Inspectorate, for consent to construct the drive-thru on common land. Works on common land require such permission under the Commons Act 2006, in addition to any planning consent. We objected because McDonald’s was taking part of the common without offering anything in exchange. The public has the right to walk and ride horses over the whole area.
Richard Holland of the Planning Inspectorate refused consent because he considered that the application was purely in the private interest. The land would be hard-surfaced and incorporated into the ‘drive-thru’, bringing an end to any recreational use by the public because of the passage of vehicles and, at times, queuing vehicles which would prevent access completely. There was no public benefit in the works to outweigh the harm to the interests of users of the common.