Rat surge fears over McDonald's plan for new Belfast outlet
A pensioner has warned that a new McDonald's beside his quiet north Belfast home will only fuel the area's rodent problem.
It comes as planners say the fast-food joint's latest restaurant should be refused.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, George Reid (70) said he's seen rats in and around his street and back yard as recently as a month ago.
He has already had to reinforce his back gate to make sure the rodents don't make their way into his terraced house. He also says residents are also concerned about the impact of noise in the area.
US fast-food chain McDonald's is planning to open a new 24-hour restaurant beside Asda on the Shore Road. Mr Reid's back yard on Oakmount Drive looks on to an empty plot of land which the new McDonald's is earmarked for. But now planners say the scheme should be refused. Issues raised include traffic concerns, noise and rodent problems.
Mr Reid said: "There are two or three causes. The main cause is this... there are rats in this area. I had the men out (from the council) and there was a rat.
"There was another woman down the side of the street, and she had them out for rats.
"I have nothing against McDonald's in principle. I like a Big Mac as much as anyone else, but I don't like it in my back yard," he said.
Mr Reid is worried that food sales and rubbish could increase the numbers of rats in the area, and noise levels would impact on his quiet suburban street, which he says is mainly home to older residents. "The third point is the noise in the street. It's mostly elderly people in this street," he added.
"I may be a voice crying in the wilderness... is McDonald's going to be able to assure me that no rats go in to my back yard? People sit in their cars (and throw rubbish out).
"A lot of people in this street are concerned about the rat situation."
Mr Reid is also worried about the impact a large McDonald's could have on the value of his home.
A spokesman for McDonald's said: "McDonald's can confirm that it is working with a local developer in relation to this planning application.
"We await the formal response from Belfast City Council planning committee.
"We understand some concerns have been raised by local residents and look forward to reassuring them as we move forward."
Planners have said the proposal is contrary to the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015, as the site is zoned for housing and if permitted, would prejudice the delivery of housing in an area of current housing stress.
"The proposal is contrary to the development plan and it is recommended that planning permission is refused," they said.