Plans for a take-away only McDonald’s in Loughton High Road have been approved.

Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) gave the global fast-food giant the green light to build a delivery and take-away only branch on the vacant site of an old Chinese restaurant – Pak Choi.

The McDonald's branch, which will generate 35 full-time and 30 part-time jobs, will have no seating.

The plans were approved at a meeting on Wednesday, June 3 – despite concerns being raised over possible litter issues, health implications and questions over where delivery drivers would park.

Ben Fox, speaking on behalf of McDonald’s, said the company expects 30 per cent of customers to order food through Uber Eats, with the remaining business to be walk-in customers.

McDonald’s forecasts the branch will see one bicycle delivery rider every six minutes and one moped driver every eight minutes – with an average waiting time of one to two minutes for delivery personnel.

Deliver drivers and cyclists will be instructed to use the car park around the back of the building, rather than parking on the high road, council planning officer Graham Courtney said.

Mr Fox claimed the branch – which will open from 8am to 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 8am to 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday – represented a ‘25 year-long invest in Loughton’.

He added: "Given the current pressures being exerted onto already struggling high streets across the country the economic stimulus this proposal brings to Loughton cannot be downplayed”

Cllr Darshan Sunger welcomed the application, saying: “A national chain like McDonald’s will bring a lot of interest, a lot of footfall. It will help the local businesses, businesses which are struggling at the moment and we need somebody like McDonald’s to come in and help keep our businesses thriving.”

However, several councillors raised concerns.

Cllr Steven Neville questioned if the branch would be too close to Roding Valley High School – half a mile away – however EFDC planning policies do not necessitate a minimum distance between fast food and schools.

Cllr Michael Owen conceded the branch would be ‘good for the high street and good for jobs’ but questioned the possible impact of litter tin the area.

He said: “I do feel we are opening the door to mass-litter on our door-step to be honest. I think we will all, in a few months’ time, walk down the high street and see it and shake our heads.”

Cllr Simon Heap agreed, adding: “Regardless of whether McDonald’s are going to be a good tenant in this position, is neither here nor there because what’s actually going to happen, and I’m sure nobody will actually doubt this, is that there is going to be an awful lot of traffic, particularly late at night, and there will be an awful lot of litter and it won’t just be restricted to Loughton High Road.”

Permission was granted on the casting vote of committee chairman Cllr Jo Share-Bernia after councillors voted 10-10 with two abstaining.

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