24hr Harold Wood drive-through controversially approved
A Havering councillor has been accused of “making life difficult” for residents in her ward, after urging council planners to agree to a 24-hour McDonald’s fast-food outlet.
Seven Conservative councillors approved the extension of drive-through opening hours at the Bryant Avenue restaurant, in Harold Wood - from 6am-1am to 6am-3am on Sunday to Thursday, and from 6am-4am to 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays - during last Wednesday’s Regularity Services Committee meeting in Havering town hall.
The decision was made contrary to officers’ recommendations and in the face of public disapproval.
Harold Wood safer neighbourhood team (SNT) also feared the longer opening hours would attract anti-social behaviour.
Police receive around two calls a month relating to late-night disturbances attributable to the McDonalds.
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The application had already been rejected outright by planning staff, but was called-in for approval by Cllr Barry Tebbutt (Con, Brooklands), on the basis that the outlet had never received any noise or disturbance complaints.
He also said he wanted to encourage businesses in the area.
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Six neighbours objected to the proposals, fearing increased activity would encourage more anti-social behaviour – and council planning officers agreed.
But a letter from Tory Harold Wood councillor Lesley Kelly - who does not sit on the committee - called on councillors to back the proposals.
“It does seem harsh to refuse this application on noise and delivery of goods issues when Tesco, which is open almost 24/7, is less than 500 yards down the road,” she said. “The deliveries made there must be many times the amount of deliveries to [the McDonald’s] site.”
RA Cllr Clarence Barrett, who voted against the extension, was left scratching his head over Cllr Lesley Kelly’s stance.
“I can’t work out why a councillor would make life more difficult for residents she represents,” he said. “It doesn’t stack up.
“There is compelling evidence that the decision is detrimental to immediate residents, and flimsy argument to the contrary. Residents in the area need a respite.”
Officers also felt the increase of vehicles to the drive-through would be “detrimental to the amenities” of neighbours.
All seven of the Tory group voted to approve the extension; the Residents’ and Labour groups voted against.