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‘Under-50s will flock to it’: Go-ahead for McDonald’s and Starbucks

PUBLISHED: 15:51 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:12 02 June 2020

West Norfolk Council approved plans to build a McDonald's and Starbucks on the outskirts of Downham Market. Picture: Archant

West Norfolk Council approved plans to build a McDonald's and Starbucks on the outskirts of Downham Market. Picture: Archant

Archant

Plans for a McDonald’s and Starbucks on the edge of a Norfolk town have been given the go-ahead.

A10 Bexwell Roundabout on the outskirts of Downham Market. Picture: GoogleA10 Bexwell Roundabout on the outskirts of Downham Market. Picture: Google

The two restaurants and associated drive-thrus will be built near the A10 Bexwell roundabout on the outskirts of Downham Market.

West Norfolk Council approved the application from the fast food chain at a planning committee meeting on Monday, June 1.

The scheme, creating 80 jobs, will also include an outdoor eating area, play space, cycle parking and around 90 parking spaces for both customers and staff.

Planning officers recommended its approval ahead of the meeting, saying the “economic benefits of the proposed development outweigh the concerns” raised by objectors.

Local residents to the proposed site opposed the plans at the Downham Market town council meeting in February. Pictured: Stephen Cornelius (left), Rita Cornelius, Kevin Taylor, Evey Cornelius, Richard Cornelius and Rose Cornelius. Picture: Sarah HussainLocal residents to the proposed site opposed the plans at the Downham Market town council meeting in February. Pictured: Stephen Cornelius (left), Rita Cornelius, Kevin Taylor, Evey Cornelius, Richard Cornelius and Rose Cornelius. Picture: Sarah Hussain

Steve Cornelius, who lives near the site, spoke at the meeting to raise his and his family’s objections.

He questioned the level of support on the borough council’s website, saying it was not a true reflection of the general feeling of the town.

He added that although the development would bring extra jobs, the loss of trade and visitors into the town was an issue that has been flagged up by local traders.

But Paul Thomas, senior acquistions surveyor for McDonald’s, said the economic benefits of the restaurants should not be downplayed.

He added: “We’re willing to play an active role within the community. There are many benefits the proposed development will bring.”

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The application was referred to the council’s planning committee by councillor Josie Ratcliffe after members of Downham Market Town Council voted unanimously against the proposals in February on the grounds it could be detrimental to the existing street scene, pose road safety issues and cause noise problems.

Ms Ratcliffe, a former HGV driver, said she was concerned about lorries taking an immediate right into the site off the A10 roundabout.

But councillors were told the highways situation had been “rigorously assessed” and no objections were raised.

Chairman Chris Croft said: “I can’t think of a more suitable site. I know some people won’t like it but people under 50 will because they will flock to it.

“I believe this is perfectly acceptable where this is going to be.”

West Norfolk council voted nine for, seven against and two abstentions.

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