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Planning permission refused for Coleraine McDonalds drive-thru

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Planning permission has been refused for a second McDonald’s restaurant and takeaway in Coleraine.

The application, which was recommended by officers for approval, was to be situated in a section of the Asda car park on the Ring Road. This was a second application which saw the restaurant moved approximately 50 metres away from the boundary with the adjacent Lodge Hotel, leaving the car parking area beside the boundary.

Planning permission was sought for a freestanding single storey restaurant with car parking, drive thru, landscaping and associated site works.

Councillors raised concerns about the potential for noise pollution from cars, anti-social behaviour and the effect it would have on the Lodge Hotel’s residents and potential loss of business.

Councillor William McCandless spoke in objection to the application saying: “Tourism is a major economic driver in our area and in our borough we are acutely aware there is a lack of tourist accommodation.

“The Lodge Hotel has been in business for 55 years and employs in excess of 100 people. This application will have a detrimental impact on the Lodge Hotel and we as a council have a duty to support them.

“If this application is passed the implications will have a deep and long impact on this long established business.”

DUP Alderman George Duddy asked if enough consideration had been given to the impact of noise from cars using the 35 spaces.

He was informed that no acoustic fencing was being included with this application

Referring to the first McDonald’s at the Riverside Retail Park, he said: “Given the end user and late at night, and given what goes on across the town with regards car noise, it is a concern that we have not deemed it necessary to have an acoustic fence considering the fact that the car park is going to be beside the Lodge Hotel and below the bedrooms.”

A council officer responded saying: “I would have some concerns regarding traffic noise, not only with cars entering and exiting but there may be some customers who sit in the car park with radios on and that would be a concern.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Cathal McLaughlin spoke against the application saying; “No one in this meeting would want this parked beside their house.”

The councillor added: “The tourism industry is a thriving area on the north coast and we have tourists coming to book and stay at the Lodge Hotel and with a McDonalds next door – the noise, the smells, the boy racers. Everybody in hospitality for the last 15 months has had no turnover and now this is happening to them.

“The applicants are a multi-million pound franchise business and they have thousands of restaurants across the world, the Lodge Hotel has one.

“McDonald’s already has a restaurant in Coleraine, this is just greed, there’s probably 100 other sites in Coleraine or Portrush they could have put this.

“I am proposing that we do not grant planning permission.”

DUP Alderman George Duddy seconded the proposal adding; “It will have a detrimental effect on the ambiance of the area – litter, late night noise, the effect on the residents of the Lodge. We also have to take into account the residents of the Cottage Nursing Home and those who live in Lodge Park.

The application was refused with nine votes in favour of refusal, one against and two abstentions.

A second application, which was the original application submitted, was also refused with councillors voting 10 in favour of the refusal, one against and two abstentions.

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Gillian Anderson - Local Democracy Reporter
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