LICENSING chiefs have rejected plans for a 24-hour McDonald’s in Hereford.

McDonald’s franchisee Sarah McLean had asked Herefordshire Council for permission for the Belmont Road drive-thru to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But West Mercia Police objected to the plans due to the levels of antisocial behaviour in the area.

However, police officers said they would be happy to support the opening until 2am as they had seen a significant reduction in crime since new management took over at the restaurant 12 months ago.

“For a number of years there has been a level of antisocial behaviour at or near the premises that has impacted on the quality of life of those who live nearby and those who use or work at the premises,” PC Chris Lea told today’s (October 16) licensing sub-committee meeting.

“The spectrum of issues concerns a wide range of bad behaviour including assault, stone throwing, swearing and being abusive, refusing to leave the premises, being aggressive and causing minor damage to property.

“Additional issues include noise from cars and customers and also related antisocial behaviour commonly known as boy racers such as car racing and revving up car engines.

“There have been a number of occasions of adult drunkenness reported at the premises and drug driving issues by those using the restaurant and the drive thru facility.”

Hereford Times:

Hinton and Hunderton ward councillor Kevin Tillett said the noise was so bad some residents had to change their bedrooms to get some sleep.

He called on the committee to reject the proposals.

“It’s not Rotherwas, it’s not on the Old Market development, it is in the midst of an established residential area,” he said.

“There is a long ongoing history of noise and disturbance.

“Some of these factors are outside of McDonald’s control like the customers who drive around and park in Beattie Avenue and consume their food with music blaring and chatting to their friends.

“The story of the elderly couple who after 30 years of living in Beattie Avenue have had to move bedroom to ensure a decent night’s sleep.

He said a resident in Gilbert Court can hear the noise from McDonald’s even when shut in her bathroom.

“Surely there is a decent level of respite that the neighbourhood is entitled to.

"At the moment they are only getting six hours break from this constant barrage of noise seven days a week.”

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McDonald’s franchisee Sarah McLean said the main reason she was applying for the extended hours was to maintain the viability of her business which had been affected by the pandemic.

“The nine-week closure from March until June has had a very significant impact on my business overall.

“Even now, all but one of my 12 24-hour restaurants are trading limited hours and menus.

“We are still in crisis. My town centre restaurants are only trading until 10pm.”

Hereford Times:

She said the application was originally for 24 hours seven days a week but after speaking to the police she was happy for the committee to allow the opening to be until 2am.

“The second reason, I still employ nearly 2,200 people across the 21 restaurants and I still have 100 people on furlough.

"Because of the overnight business being as it is, I’ve not been able to bring them out of furlough.

“The Hereford drive-thru employs 100 staff currently and if the situation had been normal, I would probably be employing close to 150 people now.”

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However, licensing chairman Alan Seldon said the committee decided to reject the proposals.

“We note there has been an offer to reduce the opening hours to 2am however the committee does not feel this will make much difference.

“The licensing objectives for the prevention of crime and disorder and the prevention of public nuisance will not be upheld, therefore the application is refused.”