Work gets under way on McDonald’s & Starbucks units at Willow Brook

Photo of an excavator on a construction site.
An excavator sits atop a pile of rubble where the Starbucks unit will be built.

Work has started on the construction of two new fast food & drink restaurants, both with drive-through facilities, at Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre.

The McDonald’s and Starbucks units were granted planning permission on appeal in January 2020, despite being opposed by the town council and a significant number of local residents, including some living in neighbouring properties.

Permission was granted by a government-appointed planning inspector after the application was twice thrown out by committees of councillors at South Glos Council, in a saga that spanned nearly two years.

An indication that work on the project might soon be about to begin came at the start of January with the sudden disappearance of the Waves hand car wash facility from the north-eastern corner of the shopping centre’s car park, which is where the two new fast food outlets are being built (see plan below).

Development plan.
Willow Brook Centre development Phase 1: McDonald’s and Starbucks.

[View a hi-res version of the above image on Dropbox]

Contractors moved onto the site about a month later and, following the erection of safety fencing, the first ground was broken in the week commencing 14th February.

August opening

The work is expected to take six months to complete, indicating an anticipated opening date of August for the two new fast food outlets.

The McDonald’s unit will have a floor area of 542 sqm, split over two floors, while the Starbucks unit is single-storey with a floor area of 167 sqm.

Steelwork forming the frame of the Starbucks building will be erected in April.

Photo of a typical McDonald's restaurant with drive-through.
A typical two-storey McDonald’s restaurant with drive-through.

The McDonald’s building will be formed of several standardised modules that are manufactured off site. It is expected that these modules will be craned into position in June.

It is understood that work at the site is currently running to schedule. The concrete foundation pads for the McDonald’s building were clearly visible as the Journal went to press in mid-March.

Kitchen & Laundry Appliance Care, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

Unrestricted hours

The planning permission does not include any conditions that restrict opening hours, so the two units could potentially trade 24 hours a day. However, it is noted that at one point during negotiations, the applicant’s agent stated that they would be prepared to accept a restriction of 6am-11pm for Starbucks and 6am-midnight (Sun-Thu) / 6am-1am (Fri & Sat) for McDonald’s, perhaps giving an indication of the likely trading hours once they are up and running.

According to documents submitted as part of the planning application, the Starbucks unit is expected to employ the equivalent of 20 full-time staff, while the McDonald’s restaurant is expected to employ more than 65 full and part-time staff.

Photo of a typical single-storey Starbucks restaurant with drive-through lane.
A typical single-storey Starbucks restaurant with drive-through lane.

In addition to the two fast food outlets, the approved development includes outline permission to add two (non-food) units to the end of the existing retail terrace, i.e. beyond the Poundstretcher store. To accommodate this expansion, the public access road into and out of the centre will be moved closer to the northern boundary of the site. This second phase will be carried out at a later date, dependent on demand from prospective occupiers, and will require submission of a further ‘reserved matters’ planning application.

Implementation of phase 1 (McDonald’s and Starbucks) will result in a net loss of around 80 car parking spaces at the shopping centre. No further spaces will be lost if phase 2 is implemented, thanks to a “reconfiguration” of the car park.

Bend widening

As part of the phase 1 work, the sharp bend on the access road into the shopping centre will be widened to allow easy access for delivery vehicles serving the two new food and drink units. This work is currently scheduled to take place in the week commencing 28th March and take one week to complete. During this time, traffic coming into and out of the centre will be diverted through the section of car park immediately south of the bend (where the recycling containers previously stood).

The Tesco Click & Collect pod located in the north of the Willow Brook Centre car park lies outside the phase 1 work zone and will continue to operate as normal.


Willow Brook Centre manager Andy Wynn commented:

“It has been a long road to get to this point, with further delays caused by Covid-19. However, we are all excited to see work finally get underway and look forward to seeing customers enjoying both new units in August.”

He added:

“It is hoped the Waves hand car wash facility will be able to return, but there is no confirmed location or time frame as yet.”

For the latest updates, see McDonald’s and Starbucks at Willow Brook.

More information and related links:

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 4 & 5). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Advertising image.

Starbucks framework erected

UPDATE added 14th April 2022.

Photo of the steel framework for a building.
Steel framework for the new Starbucks restaurant at the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke.

The steel framework for the Starbucks restaurant was erected during the week commencing 11th April 2022.

The work to realign the sharp bend on the access road into the Willow Brook Centre has been delayed as a consequence of staff shortages resulting from Covid-19.  It is understood that this will not impact the completion date of the overall project.

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