Job loss fear as McDonald’s drive-thru arrives

How the new McDonald's drive-thru might look.
How the new McDonald's drive-thru might look.

A city businessman fears for the future of his shop after plans for a new drive-thru McDonald’s to be built on one of the busiest roads into Lancaster were given the green light.

Members of the city council’s planning committee gave the thumbs up to the fast food chain building the new restaurant in Caton Road when they met on Monday.

The two-storey restaurant will occupy a corner location next to the access road to Kidds Transport Ltd, with access to the premises direct from Caton Road.

The new development is expected to bring in 35 full-time and 30 part-time jobs.

But Harminder Sidhu said his fish and chip shop, which is just 500 yards from the McDonald’s site and employs two part-time staff as well as Mr Sidhu and his wife, could suffer.

He said: “The talk of job creation is all positive but that’s overlooked by the fact that three other nearby businesses could potentially be put out of business, which would affect families, employees and local suppliers.

“The point was raised by various committee members but the majority of them only focused on the job creation.

“This will have a big impact. We get a lot of business from the offices and factories in the area, as well as wagon drivers.

“This will give them all an altenative option now. We were in the process of doing a redevelopment at the shop but I am not doing that now because I just don’t know what’s around the corner.”

Mr Sidhu, who has run his business for 10 years, said the new McDonald’s will also increase traffic problems along Caton Road.

He added: “This just hasn’t been thought through.”

The restaurant will be the third McDonald’s in the Lancaster and Morecambe area, with one already based in Lancaster city centre and a drive-thru in Morecambe Road.

It is not yet known how many hours the restaurant would operate, but most freestanding McDonald’s, as this would be, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The premises will provide internal seating for up to 160 people, while the area outside the restaurant will be landscaped and include outdoor eating patio furniture.

There will be 40 parking spaces at the site.

At Monday’s meeting, Coun Chris Coates raised concerns about the effect the restaurant would have on an already busy road.

He said: “I am not at all convinced that we will not end up with additional traffic problems on Caton Road.

“We know the one in Morecambe has caused problems and I think we will regret this.”

Coun Geoff Marsland said: “We all know what Caton Road is like. I don’t think this is a good idea for that particular part of town.”

However, Coun Helen Helme said: “I would like to be positive and welcome McDonald’s for investing in our town and creating jobs.”