McDon­ald’s boss re­jects blame for ‘24/7 traf­fic chaos’

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Luke May lmay@thek­m­group.co.uk @lmayjourno

A war of words has bro­ken out be­tween a res­i­dent and a restau­rant owner over traf­fic in the town cen­tre.

Broad­way Heights res­i­dent Clive Wat­son claims mo­torists have had more than an hour added to their jour­neys by traf­fic near Maid­stone West train sta­tion.

The 64-year-old blames conges­tion on the McDon­ald’s driv­ethru on Hart Street, say­ing he deals with traf­fic out­side his win­dow “on a daily ba­sis”.

He said: “It’s chaos. It used to be we dealt with traf­fic five days a week dur­ing the rush hour.

“But now its 24/7. It’s tak­ing peo­ple an hour and a half just to get out of Maid­stone from the Odeon.

“Peo­ple get caught in the traf­fic and peo­ple get irate. We have to live with all the toot­ing and the hoot­ing.”

Mo­torists have faced de­lays in re­cent weeks due to lane clo­sures along Ton­bridge Road, but Mr Wat­son said road­works were not the cause of the prob­lem.

He said: “When there are tem- po­rary traf­fic lights, traf­fic can still move through them, this traf­fic builds up even af­ter they are switched off in the evening.

“I’ve lived here for 10 years but its got worse since the McDon­ald’s was built. Peo­ple have to close their win­dows all day be­cause of the smell and the pol­lu­tion.

“It’s anti-so­cial, and when you ring McDon­ald’s they don’t do any­thing.”

But the fast-food restau­rant’s owner said his staff were do­ing “ev­ery­thing they can” to help.

Ali El Hajj, fran­chise owner of the Hart Street restau­rant, said: “When there are lane clo­sures on Ton­bridge Road there is a prob­lem with conges­tion, which adds to traf­fic from our­selves, B&Q and the in­dus­trial es­tate.

“I’ve spo­ken to coun­cil­lors and the high­ways depart­ment. No one seems to be able to do any­thing.

“When there is traf­fic we do ev­ery­thing we can to help. Our staff stand out in the rain to try and help keep traf­fic mov­ing and our cus­tomers happy.

“It doesn’t help when peo­ple get an­gry. We can un­der­stand the frus­tra­tions, but let us do our job.”

Maid­stone Bor­ough Coun­cil de­clined to com­ment on traf­fic in the area.

No one from Kent County Coun­cil was avail­able to talk about the is­sue.

Pic­ture: Mar­tin Apps FM3797207

Fran­chisee Ali El Hajj

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