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HomeBusiness24hr McDonald's plan in South Harrow given green light

24hr McDonald’s plan in South Harrow given green light

Plans to allow South Harrow McDonald’s to operate 24hrs a day have been given the go-ahead by the local council, despite local concerns about littering, noise, and antisocial behaviour. The owner of the franchise said being a good neighbour is a ‘top priority’ and pledged to extend the thrice daily litter sweep beyond the current 100 metre requirement.

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. Under the new rules, following approval by Harrow Council’s Licensing Panel, the drive-thru and delivery service will remain open 24hrs a day – with the restaurant to continue to close at midnight.

Reema Mavani, who owns all of the McDonald’s franchises in Harrow, told the panel that being a good neighbour in the community is a ‘top priority’ and has been working with residents and the relevant authorities to alleviate any concerns. The changes are expected to create 22 new jobs.

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

Ms Mavani said they had tried meeting with two objectors to discuss the issues raised and try to reach an agreement but claimed they ‘declined to meet us’. Although, Ms Mavani emphasised that they have still ‘endeavoured to address their concerns’.

Since the beginning of the year, the Shaftesbury Circle site has been operating a 24hr licence over the weekends under a Temporary Events Notice (TEN) in order to ‘gather data on trade trending conditions’. It showed the customer volume declining in the early hours of the morning, which the owner expects to be even lower during the week.

The licence currently has a 100 metre requirement for McDonalds to clear for litter, but Ms Mavani claims the franchise has ‘gone above and beyond this measure’ to include some of the surrounding roads further than the 100 metres outlined, which will be done three times a day.

She said: “We, as in McDonalds, dispose of this litter responsibly, at our expense, and have done so for many years. We have donated over 100 litter picks, 300 litter hoops and high-vis jackets, and more recently we have donated graffiti remover.”

To combat noise issues, the owner claims to have bought more than £25,000 worth of acoustic fencing around the drive-thru, as well as the speaker system being turned down from 11pm. Ms Mavani said: “[The site has] passed all noise tests.”

Further concerns were raised about the need for a 24-hour operation, particularly in relation to staff safety working at those hours. However, Ms Mavani claims it is ‘safer for staff’ if the premises moved to 24-hour opening times as on these shifts they come in at 9pm and finish at 6pm, compared to the current arrangements where staff finish at 3am and have to make their way home.”

She added: “[The premises] serves many late night customers, including night shift workers from nearby hospitals and people who need a place to eat when most establishments are closed.

The McDonalds Area Manager, Tom Russell, said they understand the concerns raised about the extended times due to the residential nature of the site but stressed that they had taken measures to reduce the impact.

He said: “We are conscious that South Harrow is in the middle of a residential area so we don’t want to cause any issues with people loitering around, which is why we have done the drive-thru only. This has come after consultation with the police and talking to residents about what they feel is right.”

Reema added, “At McDonald’s we are passionate about being good neighbours, and serving our local communities the way that they most need. We have had consistent feedback around extending the hours at our South Harrow branch, to meet the demands of the local community and workforce, 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.

“Having listened to the feedback, and liaised carefully with local authorities, I am pleased to say we will now be opening our Drive-Thru service and delivery channel 24 hours a day to meet the needs of our customers. I am also delighted to share the news that this move has enabled us to create 22 new employment opportunities, which is excellent news for our community.”

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