Rutland is still very unique says councillor after county becomes last in country to approve plans for a McDonald's restaurant and drive-thru
The deputy leader of Rutland County Council says the county will retain its uniqueness after councillors approved plans for a McDonald's.
The planning application has hit headlines as until now, Rutland has been the only county in the country without the fast food chain.
Plans to build one in Oakham, off Lands' End Way at its junction with Hackamore Way, were approved with eight councillors voting in favour and none against. Three councillorspresent at the meeting did not cast a vote, with one abstaining from the vote and two declaring an interest.
After the meeting, deputy leader of the council Gordon Brown (Con), who is the council's cabinet member for planning, said: "I think the applicant put in an application which councillors recognised met with our planning policies.
"I think Rutland is still very unique. We have got two wonderful market towns and beautiful countryside. It is the people that make Rutland - not a fast food outlet."
He said that it was the job of councillors and planning officers, who had recommended the plans be approved, to look at every application "objectively and dispassionately".
Coun Brown added: "In the case of McDonald’s, the development put forward has been approved because it would not have an adverse impact on neighbouring homes and businesses, or the character of the surrounding area, and will create a significant number of new jobs on land that is set aside for employment, rather than houses.”
Among people at the meeting to hear the outcome was Oakham mayor David Romney. He said: "I think it is the right decision for Oakham. I know some people who are against but we have got to keep Oakham moving forward and it is a growing town and at the end of the day, it is in the right place."
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “We are delighted that the Rutland planning committee has approved our application for a new restaurant in Oakham.
“Over the last year, we carried out an extensive consultation process, speaking to local residents about our plans and have been heartened by the levels of support we have received.
“The new McDonald’s will create at least 65 new jobs for local people, and we’re excited about working alongside the local community.”
“I know there are lots of people, both inside and outside of Rutland, who have strong opinions about whether or not there should be a McDonald’s in the county. It’s the job of Planning Officers and the Planning Committee to . We have to be impartial and can only make decisions based on whether or not an application complies with the relevant national and local planning policies.
As part of the process of considering this application, Rutland County Council’s Planning Officers consulted extensively with neighbouring Town and Parish Councils, as well as relevant experts in ecology, archaeology, highways, transport and public protection issues, such as lighting, noise and waste.
More than 80 representations were also received from members of the public, both in support and against the proposed application.
As part of the process of determining the application and as a result feedback, a number of changes were made to the initial proposals including an increase in disabled parking, improved bike storage for cyclists, new pedestrian safety features on Lands End Way and new litter bins in the area around the site.
Councillor Brown added: “The largest number of objections received in response to this application have been about the issue of litter. This is something that was highlighted in our consultation with both Barleythorpe Parish and Oakham Town Councils, resulting in a commitment by the applicant to provide new waste bins close to where the restaurant has been proposed. The applicant has also committed to carrying out no fewer than three litter picks each day, collecting any and all litter found within 100m of the site.”
The full Planning Officers’ report presented to Rutland County Council’s Planning and Licensing Committee on Tuesday 14 January 2019 can be viewed online at: www.rutland.gov.uk/meetings. Minutes from the meeting will be published online within seven days of the meeting date.
More by this authorKerry Coupe