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McDonald's wins York licensing battle
FAST-FOOD giant McDonald’s has won its battle over opening hours at its York city-centre restaurant, after a challenge by residents failed on technical grounds.
City of York Council ordered the firm to reduce hours at its Blake Street branch, but the company appealed and the council has now backed down after taking legal advice.
The company looks to have won its case partly because out of six residents seeking a review of the site’s licensing hours, only one signed the application on behalf of all of them.
Lawyers for McDonald’s also successfully argued the document should have been served by the house-holders on everyone involved in the dispute the same day, rather than being delivered to McDonald’s a day later by council officials.
The initial licensing dispute followed a history of disturbances allegedly linked to the site.
Council bosses accused the company of fighting its case on technicalities, rather than listening to the concerns of residents, but the authority has been obliged to drop its objection after taking legal advice.
Council leader James Alexander said: “McDonald’s has fought its case on a technicality, and we believe the restaurant chain should respect the views of local residents and the city.
“This area of the city is particularly relevant to the work we are doing around the late night economy of York and it is an issue I have raised a number of times in the past.
“In accompanying North Yorkshire Police on a late night shift I have personally witnessed the disturbances which take place here and have spoken to police officers who said that they are called to the premises on a regular basis on Friday and Saturday nights.”
After meeting concerned residents again, he has arranged a meeting with McDonald’s representatives to discuss how to work together to solve the problems for the sake of everyone concerned.
Coun Alexander added: ““McDonald’s, a major international firm, is not taking on board the justifiable concerns of residents of Blake Street.”
The outlet lost its 24-hour licence earlier this year after residents in nearby Stonegate Court complained about late-night noise, fights, intimidation and abuse ruining their sleep.
A York Council licensing hearing ruled it had to shut at midnight during the week and 1am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Bank Holidays and racedays.
A council licensing hearing was told 122 incidents had been linked by police to the Blake Street restaurant over 17 months but McDonald’s chief executive Jill McDonald told the council “many of those who cause disruption in the evening are not our customers.”
Peter Hess, regional communications co-ordinator for McDonalds Restaurant Ltd, declined to comment today.
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