McDonald’s drive-thru plans on the brink

Plans for a drive-thru at Leven have hit a major problem. Pic: Phil Wilkinson.
Plans for a drive-thru at Leven have hit a major problem. Pic: Phil Wilkinson.

McDonald’s has been given just two weeks to improve its plans for a new drive-thru restaurant in Leven – or the project could grind to a halt.

Planners were poised on Friday to recommend refusal on traffic safety grounds but a last-minute intervention has bought the company a fortnight’s extension.

McDonald’s proposed to create a priority junction at the site of the old gas works on Riverside Road, but the local authority insists on a mini-roundabout.

That move would require fibre-optic cables to be relocated at a prohibitive cost of £250,000.

Cllr Colin Davidson is calling for a meeting with all parties, including representatives from BT Group in a bid to find a solution.

He said: “I’m very keen to work with officers, BT and McDonald’s to ensure that the development is going to go ahead.

“This plan will bring significant job opportunities, in particular for young people at a time when we have the largest, long-term youth unemployment in the area.”

Robin Presswood, head of economy, planning and employablity, said: “We are very keen to see McDonald’s open in Leven, but road safety is paramount.

“We’re currently working with McDonald’s to make sure all options are considered.”

He continued: “The council has offered to help with a joint approach to BT to seek their support in reducing any costs involved in relocating the telecoms infrastructure.

“Although we had hoped to issue a decision on this application by now, we have offered McDonald’s a two week extension to come up with an alternative, safer, junction.”

The planning proposal lodged earlier this year indicated the fast-food giant aimed to install a car park, outdoor seating, and play area at the site, on the corner of Riverside Road and Aitken Street.

The land is currently owned by SGN, which manages gas networks in the UK.

However, a deal was thought to be in the final stages to sell it to McDonald’s in February.

A spokesman for SGN confirmed a sale was on the cards, adding: “Details of the deal are confidential, as negotiations are still under way, but we can’t foresee any issues with the deal.”

When asked, McDonald’s would not be drawn on whether it would consider other available sites in Leven if this plan was to be refused by the council.

In a statement released to the Mail on Monday, a spokesman for McDonald’s said: “We continue to work with the council on our plans for a new restaurant in Leven and to address any concerns regarding the site.

“If approved, the restaurant would create 65 full and part-time jobs and bring significant investment to the local community.”