Mixed opinions on proposals for fast-food outlet

The site of the proposed McDonald's restaurant at Cawledge in Alnwick, between the petrol station and the A1.
The site of the proposed McDonald's restaurant at Cawledge in Alnwick, between the petrol station and the A1.

Residents in Alnwick and beyond have expressed varying views following the news that McDonald’s wants to build a restaurant in the town.

Almost 100 comments were posted on our Facebook page (see below), discussing a range of issues such as Alnwick moving with the times, choice, healthy eating, the jobs and litter.

But what do other businesses in the town think?

One of McDonald’s potential neighbours on the outskirts of Alnwick at Cawledge would welcome the additional footfall.

Keith Liddell, CEO of The Inn Collection Group, which operates The Hog’s Head Inn, said: “We welcome the opportunity of attracting extra footfall to Hawfinch Drive which McDonald’s will bring.

“As an inn whose offering is home-made, cooked-to-order hearty pub fare, we believe that The Hog’s Head Inn serves a different market to McDonald’s.”

But that view is not necessarily shared in the town centre.

Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade, said: “It has been many years that we have been talking about McDonald’s opening in Alnwick. We believe it would have a negative impact on the centre of the town, although I am sure a lot of the youth would like a McDonald’s.”

The corporation wants to build a restaurant on a site adjacent to Alnwick Services at Cawledge, which would be accessed via the road into the filling station and have a drive-thru lane as well as 42 parking spaces. The interior would have space for 96 customers and the company wants it to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The site already has outline permission for a drive-thru outlet.

McDonald’s has also submitted three additional applications; one for a height restrictor and 24 signs, one for a free-standing 12-metre totem sign, and one for nine fascia signs.

Here is a selection of the 100 or so comments left on our Facebook page.

Caz Rae: Despite what many say, I think it can only be a good thing for the town.

Alderman Aidan Oswell: Jobs for local people can only be a good thing. I never go to McDonalds but each to his/her own.

Simon Brian Jobson: Everywhere else has one, really can’t see what harm it can do to the town. It’s on the outskirts so barely in alnwick anyway. I say get it built. People in the town will soon get bored of eating McDonalds every day.

Joanne Angus: Great idea! more jobs, and lush bait.

Rebecca Lambert: A few years ago I was strongly against McDonald’s coming to Alnwick. I’ve changed my mind!! It’s on edge of town, next to the petrol station, so it will get a lot of business off the A1 & yes, job prospects for the town. Let’s please just teach our kids about healthy eating and the importance of it.

Matthew Slack: Everyone always plays the ‘job’ card when this debate arises. But is McDonald’s really right for the town? I’m not one of these traditionalists that think that we should stay local, I’m just saying there are better restaurant chains other than Maccys that we should perhaps invite to look at the town?

Helen White: The local kids all go for MacD’s and I for one will be happier for my son not to be driving up the single carriageway A1 to Berwick. The youth of today are educated enough to know its not good for everyday nutrition but they all deserve a treat.

Curtis Mann: Once the rush of a new macdonalds opening after a week or so locals will be bored anyway, if you go to ashington the kfc and maccys there are hardly busy and they are both clean and quiet places.

Melanie Collins: Ultimately, as someone has pointed out, we all have a choice whether or not to use the new place. At least it’s not spoiling the integrity of the town centre, and the quality of the food has improved over recent years due to consumer pressure. I’m not for one minute advocating a diet based purely on burgers, but am realistic enough to know that the occasional Big Mac isn’t going to kill you. Bottom line – you don’t like it then don’t go there!