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McDonald's in second bid for drive-through near schools

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Customers eat at a McDonald's restaurant

Customers eat at a McDonald's restaurant

Customers eat at a McDonald's restaurant

GREYSTONES residents have expressed concern at the latest plans to open a drive-through fast-food restaurant beside three schools in the town.

McDonald's Restaurants of Ireland have applied for planning permission to build a new facility at the Blacklion Centre which is close to two primary schools and one secondary.

Residents called the plans a "cynical, deliberate attempt" by the fast food chain to target school children as a customer base at a community meeting last week.

The town's six county councillors have unanimously passed a resolution opposing the development.

Councillor Tom Fortune who attended the community meeting said he is not aware of any-body who has a problem with a new McDonald's in the town.

However, he said the location of the planned outlet "basically at the gates of three schools" is what has angered the community.

"Parents and schools are both unhappy with the idea of a fast-food outlet being built right around the corner from the school gates. That is what the real issue is. It is about the location," he said.

Refused

"In the light of recent reports about the obesity levels in children, and kids presenting themselves as young as 15 with cardiovascular problems, the location is just unsuitable."

McDonald's were previously refused permission to build a drive-through in the Blacklion Centre.

That refusal was on the basis that the development would be "contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area" rather than due to any children's health issues.

It ruled that the development's size, low-scale and extensive car park involved "a radical alteration from the permitted development" in the area.

At the time An Bord Pleanala rejected an inspectors report recommendation that the application be refused based on the issue of children's health and proximity to schools.

The board directed that the town's local area plan had "no policy/objectives" relating to the location of fast-food restaurants near schools.

McDonald's have since made a renewed application to build a restaurant in the area.

A statement from McDonald's said proximity to local schools is "not a deciding factor or part of the criteria" for the chain in terms of choosing suitable restaurant locations.

hnews@herald.ie


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