Merseyside to get new McDonald's after plans approved

The restaurant will open in a shop that has stood empty for the past 15 years.
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Plans for a proposed new McDonald’s restaurant in Southport town centre have been approved by Sefton Council. The restaurant will replace the old Royal Doulton store on the Central 12 Shopping Park, which has stood vacant for the past 15 years.

It’s hoped the new McDonald’s will generate footfall and potential ‘linked trips to other premises’ within the retail park - which includes Asda, Next, Outfit, Boots, Costa, The Range, Card Factory, Poundland, Mountain Warehouse - and contribute to the ‘vitality and viability’ of the town centre.

The planning statement highlighted how the space has been vacant for a ‘significant period of time’ despite efforts to market the property and secure a commercial tenancy. It was recently reported a tanning salon could open at the site, but all bids have proved unsuccessful.

The site lies within an area designated as Southport Town Centre in the Sefton Local Plan and the proposal comprised a main town centre use. Sefton council deemed the application as consistent with the aims and objectives of the Local Plan and ‘all other material considerations’ including the National Planning Policy Framework.

Objections were heard about the new proposed McDonald’s site with concerns raised about potential odours, delivery times, noise and anti-social behaviour. However, it was felt these issues could be ‘mitigated’.

The McDonald's will open on the site of the old Royal Doulton store on the Central 12 Shopping Park.The McDonald's will open on the site of the old Royal Doulton store on the Central 12 Shopping Park.
The McDonald's will open on the site of the old Royal Doulton store on the Central 12 Shopping Park.

One possible stumbling block was a ‘proximity’ issue. Sefton Council adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which stipulates no ‘hot food takeaway’ is allowed to open within 400m of a secondary school and/or college. Although the new McDonald’s site is within 400m of Southport College, the restriction ‘does not apply’ to sites in ‘designated town, district or local centres’.