Suffolk's nature charity has urged people to "help save" a popular nature reserve.

As the wildflower rich meadows and ponds of Gunton Meadow nature reserve in north Lowestoft are "threatened with disturbance and disruption" from a proposed new development on vacant land, Suffolk Wildlife Trust has objected to plans.

A scheme that could see a third McDonald's drive-through restaurant open on land south of Leisure Way, Lowestoft was lodged with East Suffolk Council in April.

With the hybrid application including the restaurant, drive-thru facility, car parking, landscaping and associated works, a supporting statement by agents Planware Ltd, on behalf of the applicant McDonald's Restaurants Ltd, said: "In summary, the proposal represents a multi-million-pound investment by a national operator in Lowestoft."

Suffolk Wildlife Trust objected to the plans in May, and after further supporting documents - including ecological reports, a travel plan and litter management plan - were among revised plans lodged with the council last month, the charity has submitted further objections.

It comes after Lowestoft Town Council's planning committee put forward a recommendation to approve the application to East Suffolk Council who, as planning authority, will have the final say at a later date.

Calling on people to "help save Gunton Meadow nature reserve" - by lodging objections with the council - the charity said: "The reserve is well loved and visited by local people.

"A new development on land next to this reserve threatens to bring more disturbance, disruption and danger to the wildlife of this little oasis.

"A drive-through, late night McDonald’s restaurant and takeaway is planned on the western side of the reserve, just a few metres from one of the best ponds for amphibians.

"We believe this development is inappropriate in this location."

With the proposed scheme still "awaiting decision" with the council, Gareth Dalglish, ecology and planning adviser at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: “We know how well loved this little corner of wild habitat is to local people.

"We would encourage everyone who values wildlife to object to this development.

"Instead of isolating this site further and despoiling its tranquility we should be restoring and enhancing wild habitats, as this not only benefits wildlife but people too.

"Walking on the wild side and reconnecting with nature helps with both mental and physical wellbeing.”