McDonald’s boss rejects blame for ‘24/7 traffic chaos’
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.
Franchisee Ali El Hajj