Leeds residents victorious over fast food giant McDonalds

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A tiny action group, which has been fighting a protracted battle with McDonald’s over its bid for a new restaurant and drive-through in Leeds, is finally celebrating victory over the global fast-food giant.

The burger chain appealed after Leeds City Council rejected its proposals to knock down the empty White Bear pub on Dewsbury Road and replace it with a two-storey building comprising landscaping, outdoor seating area and car park.

It argued nearby motorway traffic already meant higher-than-normal background noise, which would not be exacerbated by on-site plant machinery.

McDonald’s, which first submitted its plans in 2011, was also offering screening and landscaping to reduce any adverse impact on homes immediatety adjacant to the site.

But local residents were concerned the proposals were not in keeping with the look and feel of Tingley as a residential village.

“We were worried about the impact on local residents, not just in terms of privacy issues from being overlooked, but also the noise caused,” said Victoria Smith of Oban Close, which sits just behind the site.

“The site is right next to the M62, so there were concerns it would become like a mini service station, attracting even more traffic,” she added.

Planning inspector Karen Ridge ruled noise and disturbance likely to be created by customers using the outside seating area was more of a concern, while the amount of glazing in the new building would create a “perception of being overlooked by a significant number of patrons through a large expanse of glass”.

She wrote: “I have concluded this harm cannot be adequately mitigated and it is not outweighed by other positive considerations in favour of the development. Therefore the appeal must be dismissed.”

The decision was welcomed yesterday by Labour Morley ward councillor Neil Dawson.

He said: “This is a great victory for people power and reflects the hard work put in by many local residents over the last two and a half years.

“The independent planning inspector has backed the case put by local residents and Leeds City Council and has decided in their favour, firmly rejecting McDonald’s plan for another out-of-town restaurant. The people of Tingley have made their voice heard.”

Tingley residents are hoping to meet with site owners and potential developers soon, to help find a suitable way forward.

“There’s been great community spirit throughout this entire process and we are confident it will continue,” said Ms Smith.

“We just want something everyone can benefit from, such as a family-friendly pub like the one that used to be there,” she added. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you

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