Wednesday 4 August 2010

Locals voice concern at proposed McDonald's

FAST-FOOD GIANT McDonald’s is planning to locate a “drive-thru” restaurant backing on to a primary school in a residential area of Sandymount, Dublin 4.

The proposed restaurant would be located on Beach Road, close to Sandymount Strand, and about halfway between the new Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road and the 02 arena.

The site was formerly the Winfield Motors car showrooms and is now owned by Maxol Ltd, which operates an adjacent petrol station. Maxol has applied to Dublin City Council for planning permission to demolish the car showrooms and construct a drive-thru restaurant.

The site notice and the planning application do not mention the restaurant would be a McDonald’s franchise. However, supporting documentation submitted to the council by the applicants states it would be a “drive-thru McDonald’s restaurant”.

The application proposes opening hours from 7am to 11pm daily and seeks permission for 25 car park spaces.

A spokesman for McDonald’s yesterday confirmed that, if permission were granted, the new development would be a “flagship” restaurant for Dublin.

Local residents said the proposal was completely unsuitable for the area, would worsen already-congested traffic and would lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour. They have also accused the applicants of being deliberately misleading in not stipulating the restaurant would be a McDonald’s.

Local Labour councillor Kevin Humphreys, who has lodged an objection to the development, said the proposal was “totally unacceptable” and could not be allowed to go ahead.

“This is already an extremely congested junction. The proposed location is close to the Aviva Stadium, the O2 and Irishtown Stadium and if this McDonald’s drive-thru was allowed, there would be compete gridlock. The traffic implications alone would make this development unacceptable.”

However, in addition to the traffic problems, there were real concerns for the health of children in the area, Mr Humphreys said. The site backs on to St Mathew’s primary school and is also close to the Star of the Sea primary school.

Several local councils in Britain are considering introducing fast-food-free zones around schools to tackle the growing obesity epidemic.

A number of other objectors to the application have criticised the plans to locate a fast-food restaurant so close to two schools that operate a healthy eating policy.

Several objectors said the proposed restaurant would “substantially alter the settled, peaceful and residential nature of this older part of Dublin”. They also criticised the lack of consultation with local residents.

The applicants said the drive-thru element would account for about 29 per cent of the restaurant’s sales and thus would be ancillary to the restaurant element. They also estimate the restaurant would create 60 full-time and 40 part-time jobs, as well as indirect jobs through the supply chain.

The closing date for submissions to Dublin City Council on the application is August 12th.

Irish Times

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