McDonald's tries again with plan for new restaurant in Forest Town

Fast-good giant McDonald’s is to have another go at setting up a new restaurant and drive-thru in Forest Town.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 5:28 pm
The latest McDonald's outlet in Mansfield, which opened at Oakleaf Close next to the Sherwood Oaks Business Park last month.

The global company’s original attempt at creating a two-storey restaurant and drive-through on the car park of the Asda superstore on Old Mill Lane was rejected in September 2019.

Mansfield District Council’s planning committee turned down the proposal by seven votes to two after more than 1,300 people signed petitions objecting.

However, McDonald’s has now submitted a fresh, amended planning application – which will be put before the council in the coming weeks.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Again, it is for a free-standing, two-storey restaurant with drive-thru, car parking, landscaping and associated works that would include a play area for youngsters, a customer-order display and the installation of a sub-station and electrical kiosk.

If it is given the go-ahead, it would become the fourth McDonald’s outlet in Mansfield.

There are branches at Mansfield Leisure Park on Park Lane and on West Gate in the town, while a 24-hour takeaway opened on Oakleaf Close, near Sherwood Oaks Business Park, only last month.

When the original Forest Town scheme was floated, councillors were against it amid fears that it would add to Mansfield’s obesity crisis.

Coun Mick Barton, who represented the Maun Valley ward, said: “A McDonald’s is the last thing we need. Mansfield suffers from the worst obesity levels in Nottinghamshire, so a McDonald’s near four schools isn’t appropriate.

"This would have a knock-on effect on health and social care for years to come.”

Coun Martin Wright agreed, saying: “Residents have contacted me with concerns. We are in the grip of an obesity crisis, and obesity is entirely avoidable.

"Almost 21 per cent of 10 to 11 year olds in Mansfield are obese.”

Nearby residents complained that the restaurant would attract extra traffic and feared that it would also lead to more anti-social behaviour.

They pointed out, too, that there were already six fast-food outlets within walking distance of the proposed site.

However, McDonald’s insisted the location was viable and that there was a demand for the restaurant. It also defended the suitability and healthiness of its food, saying 90 per cent of its menu contained items that were under 500 calories.

It also claimed 85 per cent of traffic visiting a typical McDonald’s outlet was already on the roads, meaning just 15 extra cars per hour at the Forest Town site.

And the firm stressed the new restaurant had the potential to create dozens of jobs, including for youngsters.

Earlier that month, independent research discovered that the presence of McDonald’s in Mansfield contributed a staggering £8.2 million to the town’s economy every year.

This was not only through jobs but also through the business’s supply chain. For instance, Mansfield company W&J Linney manufactured digital signage in McDonald’s restaurants.

The company also helped to sponsor major events, such as the Mansfield 10K road race and the town’s Christmas market – while it took part in anti-litter campaigns and helped to raise vital funds for local charities.