Thursday 29 March 2007

Council the arch-enemy as McDonald’s appeals lit sign ban

LOVIN’ it? Not in Mayo, it seems.
McDonald’s might be a popular fast food eatery but the restaurant chain is not exactly experiencing a whole lot of “lovin’” from the leading burghers of Castlebar.
A McDonald’s outlet in the Mayo town has recently been refused planning permission to illuminate its famous golden arches sign in a decision that has sparked controversy in Castlebar.
It is the second time in the last six years that Castlebar Town Council has put a halt to the company’s bid to light up the local nightlife through a large “M” sign outside its restaurant on the Lower Westport Road.
On the previous occasion, An Bord Pleanála upheld the council’s decision to refuse planning permission.
The issue has also led some members of the local authority to get into something of a McFlurry amid fears that the furore spells a McTastrophe for Mayo.
Labour councillor, Johny Mee, warned that Castlebar would become “the laughing stock of the country” over the refusal of planning permission for the illumination.
Mr Mee said he would try to get the decision reversed by getting the council to pass a material contravention order.
Fine Gael councillor Kevin Guthrie also supports the planning application but acknowledged that the illumination of the sign would contravene the town’s development plan.
“It is daft. People will say councillors have more important things to be sorting out than McDonald’s signs but I think the decision not to allow the sign to be lit is very foolish,” said Mr Guthrie.
Blackie Gavin, a Fianna Fáil member of Castlebar Town Council, claimed the decision would send out “a very negative view of Castlebar internationally”.
The owner of McDonald’s in Castlebar, Martin Crampe, declined to comment on the issue on the basis that he is appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála.
Seán McCárthaigh and Teresa O’Malley
© Western People

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