McDonald's drive-thru plan draws varied reactions including: 'Not in my back yard!'

McDonald's is launching its summer menu
-Credit: (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Proposals to build a McDonald's drive-thru have attracted objections and support, with some describing it as a 'complete headache for residents', others as a boost to the local economy.

The fast food giant has applied for planning permission to build a drive-thru restaurant on Yarm Road, Stockton near Lidl supermarket. It said the plan would support more than 400 jobs during construction and create 120 jobs when completed.

The plans have received more than 60 comments in less than a month. The responses were split between those objecting and supporting the scheme.

Objectors raised issues with road safety, more traffic on a busy road, disruption, "unbearable", noise, "terrible" light pollution, "awful" smells, "unnecessary" opening hours, litter, pests and vermin, health, loss of privacy and the suggestion it would become a "magnet for anti-social behaviour". They also pointed to the number of existing fast food outlets

One said: "The location is primarily a residential area and I feel a drive-through restaurant would be better suited to a business park or industrial estate... The local area is actually saturated with takeaways and hot food establishments, including at least five McDonald's in the borough of Stockton which is more than sufficient."

One correspondent said: "I would suggest that SBC should be seeking to attract healthier food restaurants into the area to improve the health inequalities which exist in the area." Others said the location, in a deprived area with high levels of obesity, was "unacceptable" and the plan went against national and local health policies.

One respondent, describing themselves as a public health professional, said: "The proposed McDonald's restaurant and takeaway poses significant risks to the health and quality of life of local residents, particularly children." Another said: "A fast food outlet with these proposed opening hours will attract groups of youths into the area and would risk turning this residential area into a hub for large group gatherings."

'Absolutely horrific idea'

One said: "This is an absolutely horrific idea. In the middle of a residential area between two housing estates is NOT the place to put a McDonald's... This idea will be a complete headache for residents."

On the other hand, supporters said it would encourage more people to visit the town, support local businesses and communities, and regenerate an underused site in a "perfect" location. In similarly worded submissions to the council's planning portal, several said: "I support this application because a new McDonald's would represent significant investment in Stockton, boosting the local economy.

"A new McDonald's would create over 120 much-needed new jobs in the local community, as well as further opportunities in construction and the supply chain. A new McDonald's would regenerate underutilised site with an attractive and sustainable new restaurant."

'A case of NIMBYism'

One supporter said "I strongly believe that there is a case of NIMBYism" while an objector remarked, "Yes I absolutely do not want this in my back yard!"

McDonald's set up a website for people to register support. But in a consultation it found 63% of respondents objected to the plans.

In response to the objections, a McDonald's spokesperson said: "We are excited to propose bringing a new restaurant to Stockton and are encouraged by many of the comments made in support of our plans. The existing McDonald’s restaurants in the area are extremely popular and busy, and a new restaurant at Yarm Road would relieve the pressure on these and reduce local people's need to travel.

"As part of the planning application, we have instructed a range of technical reports which confirmed no significant impacts in terms of noise, odour and traffic. The proposals also introduce several new trees to the site, including nine trees at the site entrance, softening the overall appearance of the development.

"If approved, we will ensure that the new restaurant will be a good neighbour to nearby residents. We take a proactive approach to preventing anti-social behaviour and littering, including comprehensive staff training and a minimum of three litter picks per day within 150m of the restaurant.

"We hope that our proposals will be supported by planners who will see the benefits that will be delivered through finding a new use for a previously developed brownfield site and creating around 85 full-time equivalent jobs for local people."