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A concert is being held in Guildford next weekend to raise awareness of the Say No to McDonalds in Guildford campaign, run by residents who do not want the fast food chain to be built in their town.
Claire Scanlan, who runs the local playgroup, started the campaign along with three other mums.
She wrote a petition to keep their town free of the fast food stores and it has already culminated over 5,000 signatures.
“All of those signatures have been collected in Guildford,” said Ms Scanlan.
“So, they’re residents, people passing through, tourists, patrons, business owners.”
The main reason residents are opposed to the McDonalds being built is because they are hoping Guildford will become Heritage listed, and the fast food chain would ruin that façade.
Ms Scanlan said residents have fought for the town to be heritage listed for the last nine years.
“This town is not heritage listed, but it needs to be,” she said.
“Many of its buildings are and this McDonalds will damage that heritage listing.”
Residents are worried the new development will change the face of Guildford and put the Heritage listing at risk.
The town has been kept the same since it was originally settled in the 1800s, with no fast food or major brands opening within the precinct.
“Most of these buildings are over 100 years old and there’s very few towns like ours,” said Ms Scanlan.
“We have a very proud history in Guildford and we have a very strong community.
“The Guildford Association has fought very long and hard to stop inappropriate developments and mostly we have won.
“We now cannot allow private enterprise to change the face of Guildford forever.”
The new development is proposed to be built in the car park behind the Guildford hotel, which would remove a lot of parking spaces.
Residents are also worried it would add further build-up to the already congested roads.
Ms Scanlan said some intersections don’t move during peak hour, even on a green light, because the boom gates over the train tracks can stay down for 10 minutes at a time.
“We have not enough parking and very congested laneways,” she said.
“There are cars backed-up on a weekend.
“There is not enough parking for a McDonalds and they are taking away one of the largest parking areas in Guildford and bringing in more cars.
“We can’t possibly sustain it.”
Another concerning factor is the proximity to Guildford primary school, which has been the longest operational government school in Western Australia.
“Our little primary school has been listed as Australia’s fittest school,” said Ms Scanlan.
“Those children that attend that school walk or ride to school and they’ll now have to go past a 24-hour McDonalds.”
While the health factor is concerning, it’s the extra cars turning in and out of the development that are really worrying.
“We see major misses at that intersection on a daily basis,” said Ms Scanlan.
“Two weeks ago, a little boy was hit by a car, but he’s okay.
“There have been no fatalities at that intersection, but there is more than one accident a month.”
The local economy could face losses from a reduced amount of tourism, which is one of their major industries.
Residents also worry about the loss of walkability due to increased traffic congestion and what impact that will have on the health of their children.
With the Australian Government spending $8.5 billion between 200-2005 on health-related diseases and lots of other funds on health promotion, Ms Scanlan can’t understand why they want this development to go ahead.
The main issue these residents are facing is that they have no one to turn to, with both the City of Swan and WA Department of Planning unable to help with the issue.
Since many of the buildings in Guildford are privately owned, their development is up to their owners.
Ms Scanlon said that car park has been used since the building opened over 100 years ago.
“The problem with the site over there at the Guildford Hotel is that the owners wish to develop the car park,” she said.
The residents have no rights to appeal the decision, so they’re only chance to win is by getting the attention of enough people, that the Government has no choice but to step in.
“Music in the Square” is a free concert event to be held in Stirling Square on Sunday May 21.