Hitchin McDonald’s continues extended opening hours push

A FAST food chain is pushing forward with an attempt to have the opening hours extended at one of its restaurants, despite having had applications refused in the past.

McDonald’s in Nightingale Road, Hitchin, has applied to open an hour earlier than it currently does every day of the week.

It follows an application made in December to open an extra two hours a day, which was rejected by officers at North Herts District Council. An application was also refused in 2009.

The restaurant, which currently opens at 8am in the morning and closes at 10pm, wants to start up shop at 7am instead.

But there are fears it will make life difficult for residents.

Ellie Clarke, from the Hitchin Forum Planning Group, said: “Noise, fumes, litter and anti-social behaviour associated with the operation of the restaurant are continuing problems for local residents.

“It is clear that extending the opening to such an early hour will only exacerbate these problems and materially affect the living and sleeping amenity of local residents, particularly as restaurant staff will arrive earlier than this and customer cars may be queuing before 7am. This seems to us just the thin end of the wedge.”

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A consultation involving residents has begun. So far, this has seen two responses against the application. No residents have so far shown any support.

A spokesman from McDonald’s said that it would look to work with members of the public, and added that litter patrols were carried out three times a day.

“An application was submitted for the McDonald’s restaurant on Nightingale Road to open one hour earlier each morning,” she said.

“We want to serve our customers at the times that suit them, especially as more and more people are living outside of the nine-to-five routine. Offering extended opening hours allows us to provide a convenient choice for our customers but our main priority is to be a good and responsible neighbour.

“Whatever our opening hours may be we will continue to work closely with any member of the community who has concerns about the impact of our business.”

A decision is expected to be made by council officers next month.

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