Cessnock City Council has knocked back an application by McDonald’s Cessnock to have its drive-thru facility open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a 12-month trial period.
Council staff had recommended the application be approved (subject to conditions) at last Wednesday’s meeting, but it was rejected unanimously by the councillors, who cited the negative impact it may have on local residents and lack of community consultation among their reasons for refusal.
The application initially sought to extend the Allandale Road restaurant’s current trading hours to 24/7 in the restaurant and drive-thru in perpetuity – but it was amended during the development process in response to concerns raised by council, NSW Police and the community.
The application was publicly exhibited on four occasions, with 20 submissions and one petition containing 48 signatures (all in objection to the proposal) lodged with council in relation to the most recent exhibition.
Noise, traffic, litter, security and safety were among the concerns raised by residents in their objections.
The council report said the controls proposed to manage the development (including the 12-month trial, the closure of the restaurant overnight, restrictions to site access, extensions to CCTV and lighting and proposed acoustic controls) were “sufficient to adequately reduce potential impacts”.
In moving the application be refused, councillor Di Fitzgibbon said the application did not adequately address the potential adverse social impacts on local residents, including acoustics, privacy, traffic, security and safety.
“The negatives far outweigh the positives,” she said.
“A 24/7 drive-thru in the middle of a residential area just isn’t the right fit.”
Councillor Jay Suvaal said it was a “difficult decision” to vote against an application that would have created 20 new jobs, but he was concerned there was a lack of consultation with the community throughout the process.
“I just don’t feel that the information before me gives me reason to approve it,” he said.
The restaurant currently trades from 6am to 11pm, seven days a week.
A similar request for 24/7 drive-thru trading (without the trial period) was knocked back by council in October 2009.