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McDonald's denied permission to build near three schools

FAST-FOOD chain McDonald's has been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanala to build a restaurant near three schools.

The hamburger giant was last year given approval by Wicklow County Council to build a new drive-thru restaurant at the Blacklion Centre, Greystones.

The decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanala by the board of management at Temple Carrig Secondary School due to open in September, local Fine Gael TD Simon Harris and three local residents and now McDonald's have been refused permission to build on the site.

Deputy Harris last night welcomed the decision saying: "I have no difficulty with a McDonald's coming to Greystones and I'm sure many would welcome it. I thought the location was very bad from the perspective of being located beside a large brand new secondary school... and two primary schools which have both been doubled in size in recent years."

He said that he had other objections to the development due to "significant" traffic and flooding problems in the area.

He said that new Department of Environment guidelines recommend that local area plans take into consideration the location of fast food restaurants beside schools.

An inspector's report into McDonald's plans prepared for An Bord Pleanala had recommended that the development be refused due to its location.

RADICAL

An Bord Pleanala did not accept this recommendation, pointing out that that Wicklow County Council's local area plan had "no policy/objectives" relating to the location of fast-food restaurants near schools.

Instead, it ruled that the development's size, low-scale and extensive car park "involves a radical alteration from the permitted development".

The Bord decided that the restaurant would be "contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".

Deputy Harris called on local authorities across the country to consider the location of schools near proposed fast food restaurants when deciding on future applications.

He said: "I enjoy a Big Mac, that's not the point. The point is that local authorities have to start playing their part in creating healthy communities."

McDonald's Ireland said it is "currently reviewing the decision by An Bord Pleanala and will decide its next course of action in the coming weeks".

It did not respond to questions relating to health concerns raised by residents about the location of fast food restaurants near schools.

hnews@herald.ie


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