THE owners of a family-run café in Hilperton now fear for the future of their business after the UK’s biggest fast food chain filed plans for a new drive-thru restaurant less than 400 metres away.

Rikky and Lisa Prince, who own the Paxcroft Café are backing a campaign by more than 200 residents opposed to plans for the McDonald's drive-thru on a site next to Paxcroft Farm bordering the A361 and Hilperton Drive.

Mrs Prince, 38, says she and Rikky, 40, are now worrying about the future of their burgeoning business, which they acquired two years ago.

“I feel gutted", she said. "We have been building up the business and we don’t want to lose it.

“Since we found out we’ve been worrying about whether we can keep the business. It has created a lot of stress and uncertainty.

Wiltshire Times: The Paxcroft Cafe in the layby on the A361 Devizes Road is less than 400 metres away from the

“We’re now unsure about the future and worried about prices going up and losing customers to McDonald’s.

“Many of our customers have said to me that we should not be worrying because they will still visit us.

“We serve regulars, lorry drivers and the passing trade with hot and cold food and drinks, brownies, cakes and confectionery.

“But I am worrying, although I haven’t yet shed any tears. We have got a mortgage to pay and money does not grow on trees.

“My family and I are trying to help the village as much as we can. We went to the meeting on Tuesday (August 1) at Hilperton, where there was a very good turn-out.”

The café supports their family, with sons Jacob, 18, and Kieran, 16, helping out whenever they can. They also have one employee, Teresa Wakely, 51.

The family plans to display a huge banner saying “Hilperton says No! McDonald’s Hilperton/I’m not lovin it” to support the campaign to stop the drive-thru being built.

For now, the family’s plans to expand the business, by enlarging the café, are being put on hold until its future is more certain.

“We have put a few thousand pounds and a lot of time and energy into building the business. Now we will just have to wait and see what happens and hopefully we won’t have to close.”

Opposition is piling up to McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd's plans to build the drive-thru on the greenfield site at Paxcroft Mead.

Hilperton Parish Council is objecting to the plans, and intends to hire a planning consultant to help fight the application.

Trowbridge Town Council is also drafting a comment on the plans, although the site is technically outside the Trowbridge parish boundary.

McDonald’s has submitted four planning applications for the site.  Three relate to advertising signage, whilst the fourth is for a drive-through restaurant with parking and landscaping.

The company wants to build a 356sqm freestanding restaurant with a drive-thru facility on land to the east of Hilperton Drive and the A361 roundabout.

It would also include parking spaces for up to 45 vehicles and eight bicycles, landscaping and associated works, plus customer order displays and an indoor ‘Playland’ play frame for children.

The new 24-hour facility would employ 30 full-time and 90 part-time staff, equivalent to 62 people full-time.

A McDonald's spokesperson said: “We will take into consideration the feedback from the Hilperton community and further clarify our position on these points, should we receive a planning committee date.”

To comment on the Wiltshire Council planning website, use references PL/2023/05469, PL/2023/05554, PL/2023/05555 and PL/2023/05556.

The deadline for comments is Friday, August 18. Wiltshire Council hopes to decide the application by October 10.