Leyland’s McDonald’s will be allowed to open 24/7 for the next year, despite objections from police.
The restaurant is currently number one on the list of anti-social behaviour hotspots in the Southern Division of Lancashire, prompting police to criticise the proposals to extend the opening hours of the restaurant and drive-through.
But at a South Ribble Council planning committee meeting councillors voted through to give permission for the extension for a 12-month period.
Coun Graham Walton, who sits on the committee, said: “The police object to this but I look at it from a different perspective. If it is open through the night it could actually deter misdemeanour in Leyland, because the area will be well-lit and people will be seen by staff.
“I would propose temporary permission with a view to monitoring the situation.”
A report which went before the committee from council planning officers had recommended the scheme be refused.
It outlined that there have been more police incidents generated from Leyland’s McDonald’s than from any other establishment in the Southern Division, with covers South Ribble, Chorley and West Lancashire.
McDonald’s franchisee Nigel Dunnington, who owns nine restaurants in Lancashire, argued that staff had been trying to assist police and had been advised to call any time there were problems in and around the Churchill Way retail park.
A number of changes had also been made at McDonald’s in the last year to help alleviate problems at the site, including installing CCTV cameras.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Dunnington said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the decision. My preference would have been to get full permission, but a 12-month trial seems fair and reasonable.
“I was disappointed last week when I heard the police had objected, and when the proposal was recommended for refusal, I feared the worst.
“But I knew we had a strong case. We’d engaged with everyone, the police, residents and the council, and we had a petition signed by more than a thousand customers.
“I was surprised by the decision in the end, but it seems to be a sensible way forward.
“I think this 12-month trial will give us the opportunity to alleviate people’s concerns, because the issues at Leyland have never been at night, they have been around tea time.
“It’s up to me and my staff now to prove that the planning committee made the right decision.”
- For more on this story, see tomorrow’s Leyland Guardian.