McDonald’s presses on with third planning application for advertising signage

Photo of a McDonald's double digital menu board.McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd has submitted a third planning application for advertising signage at the site of its proposed new drive-through and sit-in restaurant at the Willow Brook shopping centre in Bradley Stoke.

Plans for the new restaurant had been rejected by two different committees at South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) before they were eventually approved through the appeal process on 16th January 2020.

The firm angered many local residents and councillors by submitting two planning applications for advertising signage whilst the appeal process on the main planning application was still in progress.

Having been put on hold until the outcome of the appeal was known, the two advertising applications were recommended for approval by an SGC officer on 31st January. However, Bradley Stoke South councillor Roger Avenin used the ‘called in’ process to require them to be determined by committee.

Meeting on Thursday 5th March, SGC’s Development Management Committee approved one of the applications (for 5 signs) outright and came to a ‘split decision’ on the second, whereby all but one of the 20 proposed signs were approved.

The decisions were arrived at despite Cllr Avenin claiming that the number of signs was “excessive” and would “blight the lives of residents” because of their 24-hour operation.

The sign for which councillors declined to grant consent, a ‘double digital totem menu sign’ located close to a proposed zebra crossing over the access road into the restaurant’s drive-through lanes, was considered to have a “detrimental impact on highway safety” as it might restrict drivers’ views of pedestrians waiting to cross. It was also considered to have an “adverse impact on the visual amenity of the site by means of cluttering”.

A decision on the one potentially troublesome sign was referred to the higher-level Spatial Planning Committee for final determination.

However, McDonald’s has since come back with a third planning application for a single ‘internally illuminated free-standing digital screen’ (pictured), which is similar in appearance to the sign rejected by councillors but positioned further away from the zebra crossing.

An officer recommendation on the latest planning application is expected to be published soon.

The Willow Brook Centre is yet to reveal a timeline for construction of the new McDonald’s restaurant but has promised to “share further details in due course”.

Planning applications for advertising signage:

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