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Cambridgeshire County Council submits plans to build a McDonald’s and Costa drive-through next to Soham primary school




A county council-owned company has submitted plans to build a McDonald’s and Costa drive-through next to a Soham school.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s This Land Ltd is asking East Cambridgeshire District Council if it can build the two takeaways just off the A142 next to the BP garage and around 200 metres from the The Shade Primary School.

But the plans have been called in by one of Soham’s district councillors, Victoria Charlesworth, who has objected to the application, meaning it will be discussed by the council’s planning committee.

New plans could see a McDonald’s and a drive-through Costa located on this site at Soham. Picture: Mark Westley
New plans could see a McDonald’s and a drive-through Costa located on this site at Soham. Picture: Mark Westley

Soham town councillor Peter Leonard has also questioned the development and said if it went ahead it would go against many of the strategic objectives set out in the 2015 neighbourhood plan.

“The provision of unhealthy food is not the best way to serve the people of Soham. The big multi-national fast food brands are immensely profitable and savvy,” he said.

A county council-owned company has submitted plans to build a McDonald’s and Costa drive-through next to a Soham school. Picture: Mark Westley
A county council-owned company has submitted plans to build a McDonald’s and Costa drive-through next to a Soham school. Picture: Mark Westley

“They know exactly how and where to place their outlets, and next to a primary school will be high on their list.

“It is, of course, important to support growth, but not at the cost of our children’s health.”

He added: “Two new fast food outlets on the edge of town will do nothing to revitalise a High Street which is already suffering from lack of investment. On the contrary, it will divert customers from the existing cafés, making the town centre less vibrant.

“The proposed development will shift the centre of gravity towards Ely. There is every chance that this proposal will benefit Ely more than Soham.”

Cllr Leonard, who is objecting as a resident and not on behalf of the town council, said it would also dent Soham’s unique medieval heritage – what he calls the town’s unique selling point – which sees it surrounded by commons and criss-crossed by ancient footpaths and green lanes.

This Land Ltd is also behind controversial plans to build the Soham Eastern Gateway, a 540-house estate on land between East Fen and Qua Fen commons.

Its plans are the latest drive-through proposals for the area. Earlier this month West Suffolk Council’s planning committee approved proposals to build McDonald’s and a Costa drive-through in Newmarket’s Willie Snaith Road despite objections from the town council.


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