Monday 17 June 2019

Hundreds bid to block drive-thru

Obesity specialist asks council to reject new Skerries 'drive-thru'

John Manning

Well over 150 submissions have been filed to Fingal County Council objecting to the location of a new drive-thru fast food restaurant in Skerries with a prominent expert in obesity having his say on the issue.

Locals are objecting to the development on a number of grounds from pedestrian and traffic safety but the aspect of the plan that has garnered the most concern is its proximity to a local primary school.

The HSE Clinical Lead for Obesity Prof. Donal O'Shea has also made his feelings clear on the issue.

Local Green Party representative Joe O'Brien a member of the organising committee against the proposal said that along with more than 150 submissions objecting to the proposal from the community, there was also a petition against the project from the community with over 500 signatures.

He said: 'This proposed development is bad one on a variety of clear technical grounds including traffic issues, size of the building and parking spaces.

'There are also serious concerns about littering and anti-social behaviour. At our public meeting in June we asked the Irish Heart Foundation to speak.

'We were particularly concerned about schoolchildren's health considering the proximity of the development to the Skerries Educate Together NS and the growing evidence of the impact of fast food chain marketing on our growing childhood obesity crisis.'

HSE Clinical Lead on Obesity Prof Donal O'Shea made his feelings know to the counci on the proposal, saying: 'Ireland has an obesity crisis; a third of our children are overweight and 1 in 10 are obese.

'Carrying excess weight as a child has serious long-term effect on physical and mental health. The determinants of obesity are multiple, but it is preventable if we all work together. Such a development conflicts with the Government's cross departmental Healthy Ireland Framework and the Department of Health's Obesity Policy and Action Plan.

'I ask the Council to show strong leadership in this area and to refuse the planning permission.'

Skerries councillor, Cllr Tom O'Leary echoed all the concerns laid out by the community against this proposal and said he is particularly worried about the lack of car parking at the facility which will mean customers who want to sit inside the restaurant crossing an entry point to a busy shopping centre.

He said: 'This fast food restaurant has 125 seats over 2 floors and also a takeaway counter and will generate a large amount of pedestrian traffic across and narrow busy junction with no apparent safe dedicated pedestrian access to the Fast Food Restaurant from the dedicated car parking which is located very close to incoming cars to the main shopping centre. It is high risk and unsafe.'

Fingal Independent