Camden, London saw the fourth installment of the McDonald's late night licence debacle come to a dramatic close ..... at least for the time being.
In what had become something of a marathon, the decision arriving at the sixteenth hour of application, McDonald's (represented by lawyers from Barlow, Lyde and Gilbert, who are also the lawyers in the McLibel trial) suffered a dramatic defeat in their attempt to further invade residential areas with late night openings. In this instance McDonald's wanted to extend its New Oxford Street store opening time until 1a.m.
The planning committee was again presented with an objection from McDonald's over the filming of proceedings but again came down in favour of McSpotlight volunteers being allowed to keep the spotlight firmly on McDonald's.
The application has already gained extensive coverage in both local and national press and looks set to cause even more embarassment for McDonald's as their high powered team left with a judgement most were not expecting.
Official objectors Albert Beale and Ruth Gurny again put forward reasons why McDonald's were not fit and proper persons to be granted a late night licence, because of their record on litter, public nuisance, workers conditions and McDonald's effect on the environment, the Third World and animal welfare.
Mr Kolbil for McDonald's responded, arguing that much of what was at issue was not within the legal remit of the council - ie it was not the business of the council to grant or refuse permission on the basis of such issues as workers conditions or the environment. However, basing their judgement just upon the threat to residential disturbance, the committee was still able to refuse the application. McDonald's representatives hurriedly left the meeting - one now wonders if Mr Kolbil threat of last week where he said his client would not wait for ever, will now be acted upon.
In a clear attempt to stifle the objectors highlighting the negative policies of the company, Mr Kolbil did not refute ANY of the allegations made by the objectors, trying instead to convince the committee that any decision they made MUST be made in reference to the individual store and specific planning regulations. However, Mr Kolbil did address certain aspects of Mr Beale's forceful argument, stating that McDonald's was not in the business of 'dragging two people through the courts for two and half years' but instead felt it needed to defend itself against what it claimed were lies.
The New Oxford Street store must now wait until next September to re-apply for a 1a.m. extension. Unless of course McDonald's decide to appeal. As McDonald's are in the habit of not only trying to get their way but of also shooting themselves in the foot, it is more than likely that they will appeal. McSpotlight will of course keep you up to date with this and any other applications it can cover.
Watch this space for a more detailed report of the proceedings.