McDonald’s plans expected to be approved for former Northumberland nuclear bunker site

Planning chiefs at Northumberland County Council have recommended approval for proposals to build a McDonald's restaurant and drive-thru on the site of a former nuclear bunker.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 2:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 2:43 pm
A logo of US burger chain McDonalds. Picture by Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)
A logo of US burger chain McDonalds. Picture by Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

The international burger chain is seeking permission for a new restaurant and drive-thru in Hexham, between Alemouth Road and the railway line.

The proposals are part of a wider scheme to develop the town’s ‘Bunker site’, a former cold store which was converted into a nuclear bunker in the 1980s and later demolished.

The application, which has been recommended for approval by development chiefs when Northumberland County Council’s Tynedale Local Area Council meets on Tuesday, would have enough space for around 110 customers, including an outdoor ‘patio’ area.

Brains behind the scheme have also agreed to ensure designs ‘better respond to the heritage context of the development’, with timber cladding replacing the ‘relatively standard’ designs usually seen at McDonald’s branches.

If approved, it is expected to create up to 35 full time roles, as well as a further 30 part-time positions.

The plans have attracted some opposition, citing concerns over litter, obesity and the impact on other traders in the town.

But at least one representation submitted to the council welcomed it, claiming there are ‘too many pizza and kebab shops in Hexham, and it is about time the town got a McDonalds [sic]’.

The ‘Bunker site’ where the creator of the Big Mac plans to set up shop would previously have become the new seat of a regional North East government in the event of nuclear war.

The re-development is also expected to include a Travelodge, a Lidl supermarket, and a new 250-space car park.

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service