WREXHAM: Drive-thru McDonald’s plans rejected
PLANS for a new drive-thru McDonald’s in Wrexham have been rejected amid concerns about the impact on traffic and parking.
The fast food chain’s application to open a restaurant on the Plas Coch Retail Park was considered by councillors yesterday (Monday, 7 June).
The proposals near the main Mold Road gateway into the town had been recommended for approval by planning officials from Wrexham Council.
It followed the company claiming the development on an area of car park which serves Argos and The Range would result in the creation of 65 new jobs.
However, a total of 83 objections were raised by neighbours, who said it would cause congestion and attract boy racers to the retail park.
Speaking at the planning committee meeting, Christopher Jones, who lives nearby, said: “We already experience major parking issues whenever there is a Wrexham football home game.
“If there is a shortage of parking spaces to eat their food, then our roads would be an easy choice to park and throw their rubbish through their windows into the road.
“Boy racers could cause issues in the Argos and Range car park, doing wheelies and doughnuts in their cars, as has been happening at night in the Border Retail car park.
“If this sort of anti-social behaviour occurs, I fully intend to take audio and visual records to challenge the council and liaise with local and national media to discuss it.
“I sincerely believe that the traffic survey review that was carried out was totally inadequate and did not reflect real time traffic issues, which regularly cause mayhem on the roundabouts.”
In a report published ahead of the meeting, the local authority’s chief planning officer said all issues raised in relation to traffic and parking had already been resolved.
Lawrence Isted said the level of congestion caused by the restaurant would be “negligible” and argued customers would go elsewhere if it was too busy.
He also highlighted improvements to the A483 at junction five and the Berse Road roundabout which are due to be carried out by the Welsh Government.
Phillip Isherwood, a surveyor acting on behalf of McDonald’s, said the development would also result in a reduction in the number of people travelling from Wrexham to the nearest drive-thru at Chirk.
He said: “It should be noted that when we analysed the credit card data for Chirk, it showed that 22 per cent of our trade came from the five central postcodes of Wrexham.
“If we take the pessimistic assumption that only a quarter of these visits are made specifically to the restaurant, with the other 75 per cent being already on the network, then the approval of this application today would save almost 50,000 miles being driven.
“Not withstanding that these customers will still have to drive to the new drive-thru in Wrexham, it will be significantly shorter than the 16-mile round trip they are currently making.”
Despite the assurances, most community leaders voiced their opposition to the scheme.
They included local councillor Marc Jones, who said it would cause severe traffic issues on one of the town’s main roundabouts.
The Plaid Cymru representative said: “There is an acknowledgement in the highways assessment that the B&Q roundabout is already approaching capacity at peak times, and that it will be at capacity by 2036.
“That means we face gridlock on the main entrance to the largest town in North Wales in only 14 years.
“I’m surprised that the highway consultant engaged by the council seems to be saying that this is acceptable.”
Concerns were also raised that granting permission would go against council planning guidance which states fast food restaurants shouldn’t be built within 400 metres of a school.
The nearest primary school at Ysgol Plas Coch falls within that distance.
The proposals were rejected by committee members by nine votes to two at the end of the debate with three abstentions.
Words: Liam Randall, Local Democracy Reporter
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