CIVIC leaders and conservationists have condemned a decision by the Department of the Environment to allow McDonald's to open a fastfood restaurant opposite a 1OO-year-old cathedral, writes Nigel Bunyan.
The DoE inspector decided that such a "premier league" restaurant would enhance the "vitality" of Chester's main shopping area.
Both the city council and Chester Civic Trust objected to the two-storey, glass-fronted building, 100 yardss from the cathedral. But Colin Thompson said the proposals were not "likely to harm the character or appearance of the conservation area or the setting of the listed town hall".
Stephen Langtree, chairman of the civic trust, said: "We are disappointed and not a little distressed. We have millions of visitors, and I think they are going to he quite amazed at this. They will wonder how on earth it was allowed."
McDonald's said it was "sensitive to concerns", but claimed its 150-seater outlet would add life and vitality to the central square, particularly in the evenings.