Sunday 25 August 2019

Schools win fast-food battle as McDonald's restaurant plan shelved

Blacklion Centre, where the restaurant was planned
Blacklion Centre, where the restaurant was planned

Emma Jane Hade

A plan to open a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant close to three schools has been scrapped after opposition and legal action by parents and school authorities.

Supermarket giant Lidl, the owner of the site of the proposed development in Greystones Co Wicklow, last night confirmed it has decided to “pursue an alternative development” instead of the fast-food restaurant and drive-through .

This comes after a vocal campaign against the restaurant was launched by the teachers and parents of almost 1,800 pupils who attend three schools on an adjoining site.

Despite appeals against Wicklow County Council’s decision to grant permission for the development of a McDonald’s at the Blacklion Neighbourhood Centre business campus in Co Wicklow, An Bord Pleanala recently approved the development, subject to 11 conditions.

The board of management from Temple Carraig secondary school, one of the schools involved, had brought a legal challenge against the planning approval for the fast food giant in the High Court.

The proposed restaurant’s site was located less than 100 metres from its front entrance.

A spokesperson for Lidl last night wrote to the schools to inform them that after the successful launch of a new “concept store” in Gorey, Co Wexford, and the completion of a feasibility study on the site, the supermarket chain now hoped to gain approval for “a new state-of-the-art Lidl store”.

“Due to the larger space required for this store design, a fast-food restaurant will not be accommodated on the site.

“We will invite members of the local community to view our proposals before we lodge any planning application,” the spokesperson added.

In the High Court this week, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys granted leave for judicial review of the September 30 decision by the board to grant permission for a development which included a McDonald’s restaurant at the Blacklion Neighbourhood Centre.

The proposed development was close to three schools – Temple Carraig, Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath, and Greystones Educate Together NS.

Jarlath Fitzsimons SC said his client objected on several grounds, including that the board failed to heed the mandatory requirement to have regard to relevant government policies.

Irish Independent

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