Community views split over new plans for McDonald's '˜drive thru'
PLANS to build a McDonald's 'drive thru' in a supermarket car park have sparked fears over a potential increase in littering and anti-social behaviour.
It comes after the fast food giant lodged an application with Midlothian Council to build a new restaurant at Dalkeith Tesco, which it says would create at least 65 jobs.
The chain said redeveloping the site would make the area more attractive, as well as providing an employment boost.
If approved, the new branch would be accessed from the A7 via the Eskbank roundabout, with 33 parking spaces.
In their application, McDonald’s said the aim of their plans was to create a “sustainable and viable use in an attractive and accessible location”.
However, a total of 23 objections have so far been submitted, with residents voicing concern over the potential impact on traffic, litter and anti-social behaviour.
One wrote: “Such an establishment as a fast food restaurant will bring nothing of value to the local area.
“The inevitable increase in litter in the quickly diminishing green land of this area will impact negatively the limited land still available for walking and outdoor activities.
“There will also be a, sadly, tangible increase in anti-social behaviour in the area should this planning permission be granted.
“Local community policing is already stretched and do not need this additional burden on resources.”
Bill Kerr-Smith, chair of Eskbank and Newbattle Community Council, said there had been some opposition but that there would also be many who supported the plans, particularly in relation to the creation of new jobs.
He added: “We have written to Tesco to suggest we hold a community meeting with themselves and McDonald’s to discuss how we can best ensure the development does not lead to the potential negative impacts that people are so concerned about.
“We are convinced that positive engagement can make a difference to the long-term well-being of our community.”
Marnie Crawford, chair of Bonnyrigg Community Council, said they too had heard mixed feedback.
But she said some were worried the new venue would increase incidents of anti-social behaviour on the walkway leading from Tesco to Bonnyrigg.
She said: “It’s quite common round here to have groups of young boys running around looking for something to do and because McDonald’s will be so accessible they will be attracted to the [Bonnyrigg] walkway.
“It’s minor anti-social behaviour but nevertheless it’s not pleasant if people have to go past groups of youths to get to Tesco and do some shopping in the evening.”
McDonald’s planning documents state anti-social behaviour would be “kept to an absolute minimum through strategies such as staff training in dealing with incidents, liaison with community police officers and use of CCTV cameras where necessary”.
A spokesman said: “If approved the restaurant would create at least 65 full and part-time jobs and bring significant investment to the local community.”