Burger Plans Fried

  • Residents set for victory in fight against burger drive-through plans.
  • Serious safety concerns.
  • Design ‘poor’ ‘bland’ ‘unimaginative’ and ‘particularly underwhelming’.

Plans to build a drive-through burger bar on the former Westgate Road police station site look set to be rejected by councillors when they meet this week to discuss the proposal.

City Council planning staff have recommended that both the drive-through and an accompanying application to build single person flats, retail/service units and a dental surgery be turned down, as they don’t satisfy planning standards on a number of grounds.

City planner Stephen Edwards said the applicant, Hadrian Investments Ltd, had provided insufficient information about key elements of the plans and had “failed to demonstrate that the development could operate without causing noise and disturbance to neighbouring residential properties.” There were also ‘serious safety concerns’.

The design of the restaurant and drive-through itself also drew attention, being described as ‘bland and unimaginative’, ‘particularly underwhelming’, ‘low standard’ and ‘poor’. It was ‘context-less’, out of keeping with its surroundings and inappropriate for the prominent Westgate Road location.

The proposals, which were first floated last year, have attracted strong local opposition. Some 50 nearby residents highlighted issues including potential noise, increased rat-run traffic, road safety, litter and pollution, parking problems and a generally negative impact on a residential area. (Pictured Lynnwood Avenue, which backs onto the proposed development site.)

A petition against the plans has attracted some 450 signatures. 137 letters of objection and 45 submissions in support of the application were received by the Council.

Along with Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, Wingrove councillors Joyce McCarty, Irim Ali and Rebecca Shatwell; Arthur’s Hill councillor Nigel Todd; Elswick councillors Habib Rahman and Ann Schofield all opposed the plans, citing detrimental impacts on health, young people and local residents. Greening Wingrove & Arthur’s Hill also wrote to the Council opposing the proposed development.

Cllrs Rahman, Schofield and Todd have called for a ‘public hearing’ and say local residents were given misleading, incomplete and difficult-to-discover information.

“The notice (of the plans) was attached to a bus stop outside the site where those isolating (because of Covid-19) would not see it and so they were denied access to the critical information on objections”, said Cllr Todd.

Northumbria Police have objected, citing crime and anti-social behaviour implications. They were also concerned that the building of one bedroom flats would “limit the potential for developing long term residency, encourage a higher than normal level of transience and undermine the opportunities for developing a proper sense of community.”

The decision on whether the plans get the go-ahead rests with the 14 strong planning committee made up of Newcastle councillors. Normally, such decisions would be made by Council planning staff, but the matter was referred to the committee due to the number, strength and issues raised in public representations.”

The planning committee meeting takes place 9.30am Friday 18 September and will be livestreamed on YouTube.

An agenda for the meeting and recommendations to councillors can be found here.

Public Health England data submitted to the Council shows Newcastle already has 50% more fast food outlets than the national average.

GH 17 September 2020. Text amended 18 September to reflect new evidence submitted to planning committee, changing number of  objections and letters of support first reported.