MORE than 170 objections have been made to the Scottish Government in response to fast-food giant McDonald’s appeal against a decision to reject its planned restaurant in Musselburgh.

And the town’s MSP Colin Beattie has thrown his weight behind concerned local groups and residents, saying there was “no appetite” for the development locally.

The burger chain is challenging East Lothian Council’s original ruling to refuse its proposals.

READ MORE: Musselburgh McDonald's plan rejected by East Lothian Council

The Scottish Government’s planning and environmental appeals division is being asked to overturn the decision and allow a drive-thru restaurant to be created in the car park of the town’s Tesco store.

A McDonald’s spokesperson told the Courier: “We firmly believe we can have a positive impact in Musselburgh through the creation of over 65 jobs for local people.

“We pride ourselves on the positive contributions we make in communities across the UK and we operate our business in a responsible way. We hope for a decision that will allow us to demonstrate this in Musselburgh.”

The scheme, rejected by the council’s planning committee last August, then attracted more than 150 letters of objection from the public.

Concerns included increased traffic congestion in the area, as well as the impact on healthy eating, particularly to children given the site’s proximity to Musselburgh Grammar School.

The planning committee voted to go against officers’ recommendation and refuse the application on the grounds of its impact on traffic, air quality and noise impact on the amenity of the surrounding residences.

McDonald’s appeal has now been allocated to a Scottish Government Reporter who will consider the case; it has attracted 174 objections.

READ MORE: McDonald's appeals rejection of Musselburgh drive-thru plans

In a joint protest, the town’s four councillors – Stuart Currie, Andy Forrest, Katie Mackie and John Williamson – said in a statement: “The application resulted in us being contacted by concerned residents on a scale surpassing any previous local planning applications – 160 letters of representation, of which 157 opposed the proposal, were submitted to the council.

“There was also a petition against the proposal which, at the time of the planning committee meeting, had amassed 1,420 signatures and currently stands at 1,437 signatures. This equates to around eight per cent of the adult population of Musselburgh.”

Groups opposing the plans include Musselburgh & Inveresk Community Council, Musselburgh Conservation Society, Musselburgh Area Partnership and Inveresk Village Society.

Community councillors stated that traffic management and emissions were “terrible” in the town, adding: “There can also be no doubt that we are all aware that Musselburgh continues to be surrounded with newbuilds, adding to the traffic congestion in the town.”

They added: “The site has two schools in close proximity and we have been inundated with concerns from families regarding this application.”

Retired town planner Barry Turner, spokesman for Musselburgh Conservation Society, added: “The results of the applicant’s traffic surveys do not match local people’s experience of the customary severe congestion at the Tesco roundabout and on Mall Avenue at many times of the day, including weekends.”

He added: “We believe the proposal will have a negative impact on Musselburgh High Street, not only by potentially introducing more traffic where air pollution is already a problem, but more especially by taking trade away from established food and drink outlets.”

MSP Mr Beattie said: “When this planning application was originally raised with East Lothian Council, my office received a large amount of concerns from constituents and a huge number of official objections were made to the council.

“It was very clear to me from this that there was no appetite for this development locally, and that this application was not reflective of the needs or wants of the local community.”

Iain Clark, chairman of Musselburgh Area Partnership, said: “The Musselburgh Area Partnership has already objected to this development in respect of it being a drive-thru facility in a location which is entirely not suitable due to both traffic and environmental impact.”

Inveresk Village Society has also expressed concerns about traffic and litter.

Historic Environment Scotland said that the development impacted on the setting of the category A-Listed Old Bridge (Roman Bridge) and the Pinkie battlefield.

McDonald’s has submitted documents to support its case, including traffic and noise assessments, a low and zero carbon report, and litter patrol plan.

The company’s appeal statement said: “The proposal accords with the policy included in the development plan and this appeal should be allowed, and planning permission granted.”