McDonald’s pulls out of 24/7 plan

'Unfair claims': McDonald's franchisee manager Nigel Dunnington
'Unfair claims': McDonald's franchisee manager Nigel Dunnington

Plans for Leyland’s McDonald’s to open 24 hours a day have been withdrawn.

Bosses at the Churchill Way fast food joint wanted to extend the hours so that the restaurant and drive-through were both open 24/7, and a decision was set to be made at a council planning meeting last night (Wednesday).

But the proposals were pulled at the eleventh hour, following a recommendation by South Ribble Council’s planning officers that the scheme should be turned down.

They said the plans would “add additional impact to an already problematic site and adversely affect residential amenity.”

McDonald’s franchisee manager, Nigel Dunnington, said that anti-social behaviour problems associated with the restaurant are a thing of the past.

The drive-through part of the restaurant already opens until 2am and Mr Dunnington said: “There are no issues connected with the drive-through and it is unfair to talk about the issues because they have not been a problem for a long time.

“We work closely with the police and speak to people living near to the restaurant and they do not have issues.

“Our customers were asking us to open up the restaurant so they can use our facilities instead of just the drive-through.

“There is a demand there and we wanted to meet that demand and create new jobs.”

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

Two letters of objection were sent to the council from residents in the area, before the plans were withdrawn.

Their comments included worries over noise levels (although Environmental Health did not have any objections to the proposals on noise disturbance grounds); disproportionate numbers of takeaways in the vicinity with a 2am limit – the presumption being that an extension of hours at McDonald’s would set a precedent; problems with ‘boy racers’ using the car park; and drunken revellers using the site if it became the only takeaway to be open after 2am.

The police also raised concerns, saying there had been “significant evidence” of criminal damage to cars and buildings around the restaurant.

The objection added there had been several police initiatives to reduce crime in the area and said McDonald’s had been forced to employ its own security staff last year.

Mr Dunnington argued that security staff had not been needed since the start of this year.

- For more on this story, see next week’s Leyland Guardian.