Planners turn down McDonald’s drive-thru plan in Dewsbury

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Fast-food franchise McDonald’s has been refused permission to build a drive-thru restaurant on land off Owl Lane at Chidswell in Dewsbury.

Concerns over traffic prompted the decision, which went against recommendations by planning officers at Kirklees Council.

They said there would be “no significant detrimental impact” on local residents from the restaurant and the 38-space car park, or those using the drive-thru.

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However members of the Strategic Planning Committee (Jan 27) did not agree.

McDonalds signMcDonalds sign
McDonalds sign

The 0.8-acre site is close to a proposed new 260-home estate, also off Owl Lane, at Chidswell, which was approved by councillors at the same meeting despite concerns over the impact on local roads from extra houses.

Objectors said there were seven McDonald’s outlets within a five-mile radius of the proposed site, the closest being just three miles away.

And it was suggested that building a fast-food takeaway close to nearby homes and local primary schools contradicted government guidelines on healthy eating for children.

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A petition attracted more than 200 signatures against the “inappropriate” scheme with residents pointing to anticipated issues with noise, litter, odours and opening hours.

There were also concerns about the risk of disruption, anti-social behaviour and the presence of vermin attracted by discarded food.

A spokesman for McDonald’s said the drive-thru would have a positive impact on the town, bring significant investment as well as a jobs boost to the area, and bring back into use a neglected brownfield site.

Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dewsbury East) expressed concerns over “immense” traffic pressures on local roads, which overcame the benefit of the 65 jobs the restaurant would provide.

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She said safety was “paramount” for local people in a small area packed with schools, a rugby club and a popular car boot site and that approving the drive-thru would cause “chaos”.

She added: “You have just approved today at Owl Lane 260 houses despite concerns raised regarding the highways and its pressures.

“It was said that it’ll be able to cope with a further 260 [homes]. Well, I live there and the residents round there can tell you, believe me, we can’t.”

Coun Eric Firth (Lab, Dewsbury East), who referred the matter to committee, said it was “always going to be contentious”. He backed local residents’ concerns and called for the plan to be rejected.

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Coun Aleks Lukic (Ind, Dewsbury East) said controls would be required on cars entering the drive-thru if the plan was approved to prevent further problems on local roads. He was against the scheme.

Coun Carole Pattison (Lab, Greenhead) said she was mindful that without good grounds for refusal from the committee, McDonald’s could appeal the decision and win.

She preferred a deferral to address concerns “in greater depth”.

The council’s legal officer, Deborah Wilkes, advised that appeals must be defend-able. If not they were at risk of costs.

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Coun Nigel Patrick (Con, Holme Valley South) replied: “There’s a reason why we have planning committees. If it’s just down to going with officers’ [recommendations] all the time there would be no point in having planning committees.”

Coun Bellamy, Patrick, Sokhal, Walker, and Hall voted to refuse the application. Clrs Pattison and Pinnock abstained.


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