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HomeBusiness24-Hour McDonald's proposal in South Harrow sparks local concerns

24-Hour McDonald’s proposal in South Harrow sparks local concerns

Concerns have been raised over plans to extend the opening times of the McDonald’s drive-thru in South Harrow.

The McDonald’s franchise at Shaftesbury Circle in South Harrow currently serves late night refreshments through the drive-thru until 2am, with the restaurant shutting at midnight. The owner has now applied to Harrow Council to extend the drive-thru opening times to 24-hours every day of the week.

Those opposing the plan have suggested extending the hours risks providing an opportunity for ‘criminals and vandalism’ to operate during the late night hours. They are urging the council to refuse the application so residents don’t have to endure the ‘constant noise and litter problems that a non-stop fast-food operation would create’.

In documents submitted against the application, one resident wrote: “Allowing this establishment to remain open around the clock would severely disrupt the peace and cleanliness of our community. Even with their current operating hours the area around McDonalds is constantly littered with food wrappers, drink cups, and other trash from their customers.”

They added: “Giving them a 24/7 licence would only exacerbate the problem, as more trash would accumulate throughout the night. [It] would make this area a rubbish heap. Furthermore, the level of noise from vehicle traffic, loud music, honking etc is already disruptive in the evenings and mornings. […] Allowing them to stay open 24-hours would mean constant noise at all hours of the night when residents are trying to sleep.”

Others fear the increased footfall in the area during the later hours could fuel ‘criminals and vandalism’, by increasing the risk of ‘drug dealing and loitering’. One said: “[…] late night hours also coincide with increase in alcohol consumption especially at weekends – possibly leading to altercations that escalate into criminal activity. Even worse is the opportunity for an increase in vandalism and graffiti in this residential area.”

They added: “If McDonald’s becomes a gathering spot for individuals engaged in risky or antisocial behaviour during late-night hours, children in the area may be exposed to negative influences that could impact their behaviour or safety.”

The applicant has promised ‘litter patrols’ will be used to clean-up rubbish during the hours that the drive-thru is open, which will cover both the immediate and the surrounding areas. They have also confirmed that a fully trained manager will be on site from 11pm each night who will ‘challenge loiterers’ to leave the premises, as well as number plate recognition software to ‘restrict the amount of time a customer can remain in the car park’.

McDonald’s has also installed acoustic fencing, passing noise tests, and had no crime since opening 24 hours on weekends earlier this year.

Reema Mavani, McDonald’s Franchisee, said: “The Drive-Thru at our South Harrow restaurant serves many late-night customers, many of whom work night shifts at the nearby hospital and need a place to eat at a time when most other restaurants are closed. Being a good neighbour to our community is an absolute priority, and throughout the application process we have worked closely with the local authorities to ensure they are comfortable we are doing everything to ensure the additional hours do not cause disruption in the area.

“We continue to invest in CCTV to ensure our restaurant remains a safe and welcoming environment for all customers, and we also estimate that the proposed additional hours will create 22 new jobs for the local community, further contributing to local employment and economic growth.”

Harrow Council’s Licensing Panel will make a decision on whether to green light the plan at a meeting next week (May 28).