Bitter Battle Ends In Burger Win

McDonald's: 'A very naughty corporation'

by Bibi van der Zee

Camden New Journal; 31 October, 1996; UK

Press Index

Fast food giant McDonald's were accused of virtually every crime under the sun on Thursday - including 'child abuse' and destruction of the environment - but the council went ahead and granted them a late night licence for their Holborn outlet.

The council's decision ended four marathon sessions of the licensing committee spanning more than fifteen hours of fierce debate, bitter wrangling and adjournments.

"By and large your corporation have brought this on yourselves," committee chairman Ernest James told McDonald's legal team.

In the past four months objectors have wrangled over technicalities while the McDonald's legal team grew ever larger to combat them.

At one committee hearing, councillor Jerry Williams walked out in protest after the chairman allowed objectors to video record the meeting. At another, a protestor was ejected.

McDonald's lawyer Philip Kolbil, who had questioned whether councillor James' personal sentiments might influence his decision, told him on Thursday:

"Had I thought that your own feelings would interfere with your decision,

I would have asked for you to stand down."

An angry objector, Albert Beale, said that at the community fairs held in Bloomsbury, McDonald's selectively targeted young children.

Quoting a professor from Iowa State University who had described the advertising practices of McDonald's as being "the last socially acceptable form of child abuse", Mr Beale said he had seen that happening in Bloomsbury.

He accused McDonald's of destroying rain forests - and providing a diet which "by their own admission leads to a higher risk of heart disease."

Mr Kolbil replied that McDonald's was "simply seeking to serve the people who fancy something to eat there and then.

"If the most that can be levelled at this very naughty corporation is that it offers orange squash to children, we hope the committee will give us our license."

The committee renewed McDonald's license and allowed them to stay open an extra hour from eleven o'clock until midnight - although not until one o'clock as they had requested.

After an objector reminded the hearing that the license will have to renewed next year, Cllr. James quipped: "Book your seats now."


Camden Chronicle
31st October 1996, London, UK

Environmental campaigners are claiming a partial victory after McDonald's was last week refused permission to keep its Bloomsbury branch open until 1am.

Camden councillors decided neighbours of the restaurant in New Oxford Street would suffer noise and litter problems if closing time was extended beyond midnight.

But on Tuesday last week the burger giant overcame the objectors to win a night cafe licence to run its Euston Road branch in Kings Cross until midnight.

See also :
  • Hitch for fast food giant - Camden & StPancras Chronicle, 17 Oct 96
  • Video shock in Big Mac licence bid; Camden New Journal, 17 Oct 96
  • Albert v Ronald in Battle of the Burger; The Independent, 19 Oct 96

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