Third time lucky: Barrister's advice prompts councillors to approve application

Big Mac turn-around


Cornwall News; Novemeber 1996 (UK)

A SEASIDE resort looks set to get a Big Mac restaurant at the entrance to the town despite beefing by some councillors who fear it will take trade away from the shopping centre and use up industrial land.

It was third time lucky for McDonalds - twice turned down by Carrick's planners, who objected to their scheme for a 100-seater restaurant and drive-in facility on the old Mitchell and Webber site in Dracaena Avenue, Falmouth, just past the Leo's roundabout.

The planning committee had twice turned down applications by McDonalds, who had an appeal lodged to take place in front of an inspector in February.

However, after the committee was given the legal opinion of a barrister behind closed doors at its meeting last week the members voted 13-5 to support it.

Because it conflicts with national and local policies on the use of industrial land for retailing the application still has to pass through the planning policy committee, but following advice from solicitor Dominique Hayes which implied that the council would be defeated at appeal, a turn-around is unlikely.

McDonald's plans to replace the existing Mitchell and Webber but/ding with a single storey restaurant, car park and drive-through road. A previous application was refused in July because the development was out of town. Councillors wanted the company to assess other options for sites in the Falmouth town centre.

They also objected to the development using up industrial land, but the company replied that the property had been vacant for three years and, in its period of use, created little employment. The company said its proposal would create up top 50 jobs, a mixture of full and part-time posts. The staff, apart from managers, would be recruited locally.

There were a large number of local objectors, who contended that the proposal would result in dangerous traffic conditions on a busy road, and that there would be problems of noise, litter and bad behaviour late at night.

However, the county surveyor raised no objection, subject to improvement works to the Leo's roundabout being carried out at the applicant's expense.

The views of a barrister who was due to represent the council at the appeal was given to the committee last week in the absence of the Press and public, and this changed the minds of many members.

Cllr Jeremy Taylor (Lib Dem, Kenwyn) said Mitchell and Webber did not produce on on the site - they simply distributed it so he could not see why it was classed as industrial land.

Cllr Len Brokenshire (Ind, Penryn) sa id the site was no good as a garage so they should support its new use, while Cllr Bob Gray (Con, Falmouth) proposed approval saying the restaurant would employ a large number of people.

Planning officer John Sloper said the council had already approved a new police station just up the road. A restaurant in this position could enhance the town centre as parents would take their children shopping, with the promise: "If you behave yourself you can have a McDonald's on the way home"

This almost choked some members, including Cllr Armorel Carlyon (Ind, Truro) who was incensed that the county council was using it as an opportunity to get a roundabout improvement paid for by someone else.

Cllr Tom Tremewan (Ind, Perranporth) said McDonald's were just exploiting the use of the car, while Cllr Linsey Cottington (Lab, Falmouth) wanted refusal because of the loss of industrial land.

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