A GLOBAL fast food chain is facing tough opposition from Bickerstaffe residents who are fighting plans to convert a former Little Chef into a drive-thru McDonald’s.
The creator of the Happy Meal has put forward an application to refurbish the existing restaurant – including single storey extensions to both side elevations – and build a drive-thru lane complete with customer order display and canopy.
The proposal also plans to make alterations to the car park and associated works.
Residents had accepted the original application to change the site on Four Ends Lane/ Skelmersdale Road into a “drive-to” restaurant, but fear the new plan to include a drive-thru could result in a host of problems.
Bickerstaffe Parish Council are leading the opposition campaign, which has so far seen a number of objections logged with West Lancashire council.
One major worry is that the drive- thru would lead to an increase in traffic which could in turn create a risk to pedestrians.
McDonald’s also plan to construct a 10m-high illuminated sign on the site which residents believe would be seen from the motorway and turn the Green Belt site into a motorway services “by the back door”.
It is believed that the drive-thru would result in an increase of litter in the area, with drivers throwing rubbish out of their windows instead of in a bin, should they be sat in the restaurant itself.
Another concern that has been voiced by residents, many of whom are elderly, is that the addition of the drive-thru would create unacceptable levels of noise and light pollution and could severely reduce their visual amenity.
A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “I can confirm that McDonald’s have applied for a drive-thru restaurant on Skelmersdale Road, Bickerstaffe, which if successful will bring around 65 full and part-time jobs to the area.
“As a business that is part of local communities up and down the country, being a good neighbour is one of our top priorities.
“We are currently working with the local authority on our proposals to ensure that all concerns are addressed.
“All of our restaurants conduct a minimum of three litter patrols a day, picking up all litter and not just McDonald’s packaging.
“We are also a founding member of Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Where You Live campaign that encourages people across the country to not drop litter and keep their communities clean and tidy.”
A decision on the plans was due next week, but has now been delayed until January 10 due to concerns over the planned boundaries for the site.