Not lovin’ it: Rutland residents resist McDonald’s proposal

Rutland is the only county in England without the global fast food chain, and many of its residents are keen to keep it that way.

Proposals to open a McDonald’s in England’s smallest county have been met with more than 50 complaints.

Rutland, home to a Michelin star restaurant, independent eateries and frequent farmers markets, is the only county in England to not feature the fast food outlet.

However, plans have been put in place for a drive-through restaurant in the market town of Oakham and many residents are fighting the proposals.

More than 50 people have so far made official representations to the council’s consultation, with critics arguing the opening would take trade away from local independent businesses and damage the character of the conservative county.

Plans have been submitted to open a McDonald’s in the outskirts of Oakham. Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

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‘Rutland is unique in being the only county without a McDondald’s,’ said one resident opposing the plans. ‘It is a beautiful county. Let’s keep it that way.’

Some said the introduction of a McDonalds would have detrimental affects on the health of those in the county, as well as contributing to waste and environmental damage.

‘[…] As far as I know a plastic lined cup full of sticky coke or rancid milkshake would not be part of our curb side collections and could contaminate whole loads of our recycling,’ said another resident.

However, those in support of the plans have argued the opening could provide employment — it is suggested the restaurant could create 65 jobs.

Oakham’s mayor, David Romney, supports McDonald’s plans and believes it will lift the town out of the ‘Dark Ages’.

‘Do you want to end up with a very sleepy town with shops closed?’ he asked.

McDonald’s has about 1,300 restaurants across the UK. Currently, the closest branch to Oakham is nine miles away in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

A McDonald’s spokesman told Country Life it was ‘pleased to engage with the local community’ at two public events it hosted in May and August, and that ‘both resulted in positive feedback’.

‘Our application is currently undergoing consultation by Rutland Council’s planning department and we look forward to progressing with it.’ she added.