Fury over McDonald’s 24/7 plan

Coun Derek Forrest outside Leyland McDonalds, who has applied for a 24 hour licence
Coun Derek Forrest outside Leyland McDonalds, who has applied for a 24 hour licence
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Leyland’s McDonald’s could soon open 24/7 in a bid to attract people coming home from nights out’.

Bosses of the fast food chain, on Churchill Way, say a ‘24/7 society’ is emerging in the town, with problems a thing of the past.

But people in the area are furious about the proposals.

Coun Caleb Tomlinson, who represents Leyland Central, said: “This is a massive no-no. It’s putting profit before people.

“It’s bad enough with teens hanging out there during the evenings and weekends, and this is going to give them somewhere to congregate in the middle of the night, too.

“What sort of people does McDonald’s think will be going there at 4am? It’s not fair on people living nearby.”

The store currently opens from 6am until midnight, seven days a week, and the drive-through stays open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The application to South Ribble Council is for the restaurant and drive-through to open all the time.

Coun Tomlinson added: “This might be a good idea at other McDonald’s which are in retail parks, but this really will affect people. I hope the plans get turned down. The only peace people have in that area is during the night.”

“Leyland doesn’t need this. All it will do it attract people from other areas to come and meet up in the car park during unsocial hours.”

Coun Derek Forrest, who also represents nearby residents, added: “I can see this McDonald’s is one of the most successful in the area, but local people need to sleep.

“I’m sure there will be some opposition, because people will be worried about cars using the drive-through in the middle of the night.”

The site has been known to attract anti-social behaviour from youths, and police have been involved on a number of occasions.

Staff have been threatened by yobs congregating outside, and in March last year, the franchise introduced tough security measures, including employing weekend security staff and implementing a ban on people wearing ‘hoodies’ in the evenings.

The decision made national headlines after staff refused to serve a 16-year-old because he visited in a tracksuit on his way home from work.

But McDonald’s franchise manager Nigel Dunnington, insists the problems are a thing of the past.

He says customers have been calling out for extended opening hours.

“Customers using the drive-through at 2am have been asking when we will open 24 hours a day,” he said. “There seems to be a real 24/7 society now, with people who work unsocial hours and want a coffee, or snack, when they finish work. People like taxi drivers and nurses.

“This will be the fourth restaurant in my area which operates 24/7, and that’s the type of customer we expect, but we’ve found there to be quite a mixture of people visiting the restaurants at that time of night.

“People out in town can go on their way home. It’s just giving the people of Leyland that option.”

He admitted some problems occurred from opening 24/7 at other McDonald’s, but they have since “dissipated”.

“I can’t say I foresee no issues at all,” he said. “I’m confident the main problems in Leyland are in the past.

“It was more between 6pm and 9pm, rather than later on at night, but from working with police, we’ve created a much safer environment around Churchill Way.”

He said security staff had not been needed since the start of this year, and he had no plans to employ door staff if the 24/7 plans get permission.

He said the move would create between six to 10 new jobs, and that local residents had been “overwhelmingly positive” about the idea.

- There will be a public consultation period for the next few weeks for people to comment on the proposals, before a decision is made by the council’s planning committee.

- What do YOU think of the plans? Email your views to kay.taylor@lep.co.uk