Rutland gives golden arches green light in welcoming McDonald's chain

14 January 2020, 23:43

Rutland was the only county in England without a McDonald's restaurant
Rutland was the only county in England without a McDonald's restaurant. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

England's only county without a McDonald's restaurant has approved plans to build a "Golden Arches" branch in Rutland.

Residents of Rutland will finally be able to get their local McDonald's fix after councillors gave the thumbs up to a drive-thru being built north of Oakham town centre.

The planning application for the restaurant received more than 50 objections during an hour-long debate.

Concerns included claims the "unsightly" development would increase litter, impact other traders and undermine "The Rutland Brand".

Others opposed to the emergence of the fast food chain in the county feared it would increase anti-social behaviour in the area and devalue local houses.

One mother who attended a planning committee meeting on Tuesday said she opposed the franchise plans "purely for who they are and what they stand for."

McDonald's will build the restaurant north of Oakham town centre
McDonald's will build the restaurant north of Oakham town centre. Picture: PA

However, the chair of Rutland County Council's planning committee, Edward Baines, told members of the public the issue was "one of land usage and not the grounds of the applicant."

The planning application was recommended for approval in a report which was presented to Rutland County Council's planning committee on Tuesday evening.

The report, which said 23 submissions had been received in support of the application, states: "The design and layout of the proposal is appropriate in the area.

"Natural and neutral colours and materials will be used on the building and the size and design of the building would not have an adverse impact on the surrounding area or the amenities of nearby residential properties.

"The site represents an appropriate location for a drive-thru restaurant."

Roughly 400 people attended a consultation

McDonald's staged a consultation event in Oakham last May which was attended by almost 400 people.

Residents of Rutland were split over the plans for the fast food chain
Residents of Rutland were split over the plans for the fast food chain. Picture: PA

The chain's plans to develop the "wasteland" site off Lands End Way include a 6.75 metre-high sign, odour control measures, and patrols to collect litter in the local area.

Martin Cuthbert, who will become the franchise manager, said he was "confident now is the right time to open a restaurant" in Oakham, describing the fast food chain as "safe and family-friendly."

He added that he was expecting the restaurant to attract customers from "both Oakham and passing traffic - and particularly people visiting Rutland Water".

Oakham In Bloom's chairman objected the application, saying: "In our opinion, the landscaping would create a stark and ugly environment for people that would be incongruous with its surroundings.

"It would have a negative effect on the town. Such eye-sores, once built will be there for decades."

McDonald's has agreed to use stone on parts of the exterior of the single-storey drive-thru, as well as khaki green, timber-effect aluminium to achieve a "subtle natural feel" to the building.

A McDonald's spokesperson said: "We are delighted that the Rutland Planning Committee has approved our application for a new restaurant in Oakham.

"Over the last year, we carried out an extensive consultation process, speaking to local residents about our plans and have been heartened by the levels of support we have received.

"The new McDonald's will create at least 65 new jobs for local people, and we're excited about working alongside the local community."