Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Healthy Debate? It Began Life as a Simple Planning Application. but the Issue of a New McDonald's Drive-Thru Restaurant in Newcastle Caused an Uproar. Now the Issue Is to Be Thrashed out at a Five-Day Hearing That Starts Today. WILL METCALFE Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Healthy Debate? It Began Life as a Simple Planning Application. but the Issue of a New McDonald's Drive-Thru Restaurant in Newcastle Caused an Uproar. Now the Issue Is to Be Thrashed out at a Five-Day Hearing That Starts Today. WILL METCALFE Reports

Article excerpt

TODAY is 'McD-Day' for a fast food giant's plans to open its doors just 500 metres from the gates of a secondary school.

McDonald's plans for a new restaurant and drive-thru in Kenton Lane, Kenton, were rejected by Newcastle City Council in September 2014. But that was far from the end of the matter in a debate that has gone to the heart of Britain's - and the North East's - problem with child obesity.

But other issues are stake. Newcastle needs jobs. McDonald's jobs may not pay very highly - but there would be 75 of them in an area which badly needs them.

The fast food giant immediately lodged an appeal and a five-day hearing, led by the Planning Inspectorate, is due to take place in Newcastle Civic Centre starting today. The hearing is the final chance for McDonald's to overturn the move and campaigners have spent months preparing a case to block the move. But they fear they are cast as David in a battle against a multinational Goliath.

As well as the 221 formal objections submitted to the council, 592 people signed online petitions against the plan and three schools also wrote in opposition including Kenton.

The fight against the fast food giant even featured in an ITV documentary, XXL Britain.

Stephanie Downey, a member of No McDonald's Kenton and a Kenton resident, has said: "We simply don't have the mighty resources that McDonald's do, we're not experts in planning law or even campaigning so we're learning as we go along.

"We are as determined as ever to work tirelessly to stop this proposed restaurant being built in the heart of our residential neighbourhood."

A consultation which could see guidelines to help Newcastle City Council crack down on takeaways included a ban on new businesses within 400 metres from schools. But the proposed McDonald's is outside of that range and would be exempt from the restrictions.

Expert witnesses from the community, and the fast food industry, will give evidence during the inquiry this week.

The fast food giant has said the drive-thru, on the site of the old Crofters Lodge pub, would create 75 full and part time jobs and generate PS1.9m for the local economy.

A statement from McDonald's said: "We pride ourselves on being an active member of over 1,250 communities in the UK including Newcastle and believe opening a restaurant here will see positive investment in the area. We remain in a process dictated by planning application rules and will continue to work alongside the local council on this."

Parents and staff at Kenton School Turn to Page 18 From Page 17 united in a bid to block the restaurant.

Kenton School principal Sarah Holmes-Carne has said: "We are committed to supporting the community campaign in any way we can because we know that the proposed restaurant will have a negative impact on our school community. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.