Not lovin' it: Parking fears over plans to expand Sunderland's McDonald's HQ
Councillors have backed neighbours' objections to build a new meeting room at Sunderland's McDonald's HQ over parking fears.
Nucleus House in Brookside Terrace, Ashbrooke, is the main franchise HQ in the city offering training for new staff.
In recent months, plans have been lodged for a single-storey extension for a training room to deal with high staff turnover.
However, St Michael’s ward councillors have raised concerns that visiting staff will inflate existing parking issues in the area and have called for the plans to be refused.
A joint letter by councillors Michael Dixon, Robert Oliver and Peter Wood states cars regularly overflow onto grass and tarmac in the ‘Brookside Triangle’ area behind the home.
It reads: “Whatever the protestations of the applicants in favour of encouraging public transport use, a meeting for 22 people can be expected to add significantly to demands for parking in the neighbourhood when the meeting room is in use.
“Parking for residents nearby is difficult enough already. It needs mitigation not aggravation. Were this application to be approved it would become impossible.”
The letter adds that residents in the area have voted in support of becoming part of a extended Ashbrooke/Thornholme Community Parking Management System with parking in the area being a historic issue.
Alongside councillor opposition, several objections have also been submitted by neighbours over parking concerns.
Applicant and McDonald’s franchisee, Jasper Maudsley, has had an office at the property since 2005 and currently operates 10 restaurants across Sunderland and Hartlepool.
If approved, the meeting room would be built within existing yard space with visitors entering through the front of the property and only maintenance teams having access through a rear garage.
A design and access applicant statement submitted to Sunderland City Council states around 20 staff are currently trained at the property over three or four days every month.
It reads: “The business has grown and both the existing accommodation and interior are now extremely dated and no longer suited to the needs of the client who is wishing to bring everything up to date to suit his employees’ needs.”
The statement adds visiting staff are encouraged to use public transport due to parking restrictions while staff orientation will continue to happen once a month.
A decision on the application is expected this month.
Mr Maudsley was unavailable for comment when contacted.
Caption: Councillor Peter Wood in the ‘Brookside Triangle’ area behind Nucleus House.
Caption: Nucleus House in Brookside Terrace
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service