Fast food giant McDonald’s has been told it cannot open a restaurant in Australia’s Barossa Valley after an acrimonious planning battle which threatened to split the local community.
The Barossa’s Development Assessment Panel voted six to one to reject the Barossa Hub proposal for land in Nuriootpa, which also included a large-scale retail development, warehousing and parking for more than 100 cars.
The decision ends a ten-month-long battle between opposing factions in the community, prompting the establishment of rival Facebook campaigns with thousands of supporters and vitriolic exchanges on their message boards.
High-profile local personalities, including Peter Lehmann Wines winemaker Margaret Lehmann and television chef and author Maggie Beer, had opposed the plans, arguing that they would downgrade the image of the Barossa as a home of premium wines and gourmet food.
But others accused the campaigners of cultural snobbery, insisting that the majority of local people wanted the restaurant, which they said would provide much-needed local employment opportunities for local people.
Howard Duncan, export manager for Peter Lehmann Wines and a local resident, attended the planning meeting on Monday night to represent those opposing the scheme.
He told Adelaide Now that he never thought the proposal would be approved, and hailed the decision as ‘a good result for the planning of the town’.
Maggie Beer had earlier suggested that the development would be ‘a thorn in the side’ of the region, arguing that its culture and attractiveness to tourists had to be preserved.
It is understood the decision cannot be appealed.
Written by Richard Woodard