Giving go-ahead for McDonald's drive-thru in Dewsbury would cause 'chaos', says councillor
Councillors who voted to refuse permission for a McDonald’s drive-thru in Dewsbury are to be asked to “consider the reasonableness” of their reasons.
Members of Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee voted 5-2 on January 27 to turn down the restaurant off Owl Lane at Chidswell on the grounds of noise, anti-social behaviour, and pressure on local roads.
They also said that building a fast-food takeaway in the area contradicted Government guidelines on healthy eating for children.
Their decision went against recommendations by planning officers. And there were warnings during the debate that without good grounds for refusal from the committee, McDonald’s could appeal the decision and win.
That warning has appeared in a report to the next strategic planning committee alongside advice from planning staff that while there are “sufficient grounds” to refuse on health grounds, there is “little evidence” to refuse based on noise, anti-social behaviour and congestion.
The report by head of planning Mathias Franklin says: “Members should consider the reasonableness of refusing the application on these grounds and the likelihood of an appeal being upheld in addition to the award of costs to the appellant.”
The potential cost of lost appeals was raised earlier this month by another councillor, Terry Lyons.
He said a recent successful appeal had cost the council “considerable sums of money” after a committee decision was overturned and a housing scheme was “imposed” on the locality.
Coun Lyons, an Independent for Holme Valley North, rejected a suggestion that committees were moved to accept “bad” plans to avoid the risk of appeals and potential financial penalties.
He said: “It’s not being risk averse. It’s being prudent.”
Among those who called for the McDonald’s drive-thru to be refused was Dewsbury East Councillor Cathy Scott.
She expressed concerns over “immense” traffic pressures on local roads and that safety was “paramount” for local people in a small area packed with schools, a rugby club and a popular car boot site.
She argued that approving the drive-thru would cause “chaos”.
Reacting to the return of the plan to committee, Coun Scott said: “I have never known this.”
She said she would continue to press for refusal on safety grounds.