Belfast Telegraph

Plan for McDonald's near Belfast primary school a 'deep concern'

A Green Party councillor has said plans for a drive-through fast food restaurant close to a primary school are a "deep concern".

Georgina Mile has said she supports opposition from local residents, near Tesco Knocknagoney, where plans are in place to build a drive-through McDonald's restaurant.

A planning application for the site was submitted in December.

A spokesperson for the fast-food giant previously told the Belfast Telegraph it anticipated the restaurants would develop 65 full- and part-time jobs.

Last month notification letters were sent to residents in the area by the Belfast Planning Manager, with a request for feedback on the development to be given by the start of February.

“This restaurant is of deep concern to residents as it backs directly onto homes and also lies within five to 10 minutes walking distance of a primary school,” Councillor Milne said.

“My objections to this planning application include concerns such as noise, litter, pollution and the scale of the development in a residential area.

“However, this particular development will be within approximately 350m of Knocknagoney Primary School.  This is of concern due to the mounting evidence indicating a link between obesity and access to fast-foot outlets.

“Many councils have already chosen to ban fast-food outlets within 400 metres of schools.

“Whilst no such regulations exist presently in Belfast, the city currently enjoys status as a part of the WHO European Healthy Cities network, which means that the health risks associated with such fast food outlets should be well understood."

In November last year Mayor of London Sadiq Khan laid out plans to tackle childhood obesity by banning fast-food outlets within 400m of schools in the capital.

McDonald's has operated in Northern Ireland for 23 years and has more than two dozen restaurants in the region.

In December 2016 plans for a new branch near Asda on Belfast's Shore Road were hit with objections due to the potential noise impact on local residents, the impact on building new homes, and concerns it could exacerbate an existing rodent problem in the area.

A decision was made by officials not to give the site the go-ahead.

A spokesperson for McDonald's said: “In 2017 McDonald’s held a pre-application meeting with Belfast City Council to discuss a number of points including residential amenities, transport and the local environment for a new restaurant at Knocknagoney. Following this meeting a planning application has been submitted to Belfast City Council for a new Drive Thru restaurant. If approved, the restaurant would create 65 full and part-time jobs.”

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