Plans approved to redevelop Sunderland McDonald's branch at Silksworth - including changes to tackle traffic problems from drive-thru queues

Plans to boost facilities and “alleviate” traffic issues at a Sunderland McDonald’s branch have been given the seal of approval by city development chiefs.

Earlier this year, Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an application for the McDonald’s site off North Moor Road in the Silksworth ward.

This included proposals to create a new vehicle access to the site as well as building extensions to the restaurant, an extra drive thru booth, new patio furniture and wider refurbishment works.

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The plans fall against a backdrop of separate proposals for a new retail park development on the former Farringdon Hall Police Station site nearby.

The North Moor Road McDonald's is set for a major revamp under new plans.

Supporting documents submitted to council officers said the improvements at the North Moor Road McDonald’s would help tackle existing issues around traffic at the site.

This included traffic queues at the drive-thru “restricting” access to an adjacent convenience store car park and the McDonald’s car park, as both sites have a shared access.

Other issues included delays linked to McDonald’s customers and couriers using the same entrance and collection area.

Those behind the scheme said new measures would “address layout constraints” and “better manage the existing demand”, while also “positively improving the operation of the restaurant and experience for customers, McDelivery couriers and staff”.

During the application process, the plans were amended with a “minor reconfiguration” to the overall layout to ensure the works could be brought forward successfully.

Following a council consultation exercise, Sunderland City Council’s planning department approved the planning application on November 30, 2022.

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The approved scheme includes a small reduction in the number of seats in the dining area, improved staff facilities and a new delivery collection area with a new separate entrance and collection counter.

Elsewhere, the redesigned McDonald’s drive thru would be able to accommodate an extra eight vehicles, taking the drive thru lane’s capacity up to 22 vehicles.

Customers would also access the McDonald’s site from a new “separate priority junction” on North Moor Road, while the existing vehicular access would be retained to serve the Simply Local convenience store.

A decision report prepared by council planning officers added the plans would “bring about positive impacts in terms of traffic management and highway safety at and immediately around the application site”.

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This included the creation of a separate access for the adjacent convenience store with an aim of “alleviating the current issues with traffic queuing to get onto [the] site”.

The council decision report adds: “The extensions to the existing building are relatively small in scale and are not considered to cause harm to the host property or wider street scene.

“The alterations to the parking area and additional drive thru booth, extended freezer / chiller, installation of goal post height restrictor and replacement patio furniture, are considered to be acceptable in relation to a commercial property of this type.

“Furthermore, the materials to be used and design of the additional structures will match the existing aesthetic of the building.

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“Given the small-scale nature of the alterations and the distance of the premises from residential dwellings, it is not considered that residential amenity will be negatively impacted by the proposal.”

For more information on the planning application and council decision, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 22/01815/FUL