Picturesque Rutland County has a Michelin-starred restaurant, dozens of gourmet restaurants, and regular farm markets, but there’s no place to buy a Big Mac. All of that could change soon.
Today it seems impossible to go anywhere without looking at the golden arches of a particular fast-food chain. But there is an entire county in England that is still an area without good food.
Rutland apparently escaped the attention of the American burger giant, but McDonald’s is heading to the commercial city of Oakham and requested the planning of an on-site restaurant.
Resistance to the plan is high among almost 40,000 people in this traditional and conservative community. More than 50 people made official statements during the Council consultation, with comments such as: “I am proud that Rutland is the only community that does not have McDVOICE.”
Many fear that the arrival of a famous fast-food restaurant will forever change the character of the country’s smallest district, known for its hunting scene, a warehouse of tourist attractions, and independent schools.
“It’s disgusting: Oakham is not the right place,” says Sandra Wells, 57, who has lived in Rutland all her life. I don’t like fast food and there is a lot of McDonald’s store all over the world.
Jade Smith, a 35-year-old gym owner, moved to the county more than five years ago because she and her partner loved their absence from the big chains. He said the authorities should encourage local companies.
People say it’s for kids, but is that what we’re looking for? Our beautiful city doesn’t require McDVOICE. It will open doors (to other channels) and kill them.
In fact, entrepreneurs struggle to compete in large chains in such a small space.
“It is such a small town to have a McDVOICE,” said Gaz Ali, who has been handling Indian delicacies for more than 20 years. And at the end of the day, he will be carrying Riff-Raff with him.
McDonald’s has around 1,300 restaurants across the UK but has not always been able to convince residents. When a McDonald’s arrived in Tavistock, Devon in 1997, people boycotted it and nine years later the company announced its resignation.
According to Steven Eperon, director of The Cornish Arms, other fast-food chains have left the city.