Victory for ‘people power’ in Leeds fast food planning battle

The White Bear pub site.
The White Bear pub site.
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Campaigners are celebrating a “victory for people power” after a planning inspectorate ruled against one of the world’s largest fast food companies.

The final decision of a planning inquiry revealed an appeal by McDonald’s to build a restaurant in Tingley had been dismissed.

Lodged for a fifth time on behalf of the fast food firm, the application outlined plans to create a two-storey restaurant and drive-thru at the White Bear pub site.

The appeal decision said the main issues with the application were the effects on nearby residents and road safety.

Coun Robert Finnigan, who spoke at the inquiry and opposed the development, said: “We are relieved more than anything because their resources are enormous and we did it on a shoestring.

“This wasn’t sleight of hand, or a magician’s trick, we persuaded the planning inspectorate that we were right. It’s a victory for people power.”

“This is testament to the local community who have stayed strong and battled against the odds. It is like David and Goliath - how can we take on one of the most wealthy companies in the world and win? Because we were right.”

A crowd of people attended the public inquiry in March, which included representatives on behalf of McDonald’s and the opposing Rule Six party.

The latest application, lodged in 2014, was refused by Leeds City Council later that year.

Mr Finnigan added: “We have said from the start this is the wrong location.”