A decision is due on proposals to open a new 24-hour McDonald’s takeaway and restaurant in Southport.
Plans have been submitted to Sefton Council to open the eatery at Central 12 retail park.
If granted, it would become the third McDonald’s in Southport, joining others already open at Ocean Plaza retail park and on Scarisbrick New Road in Kew.
The new owners of Central 12 believe a hospitality business should be allowed to operate there due to “a lack of interest from retailers over the last two decades, we see no other realistic way of leasing the premises”.
Some local residents have raised their objections to the scheme, with a number of letters and a petition submitted to the council.
The application will be decided by councillors on Sefton’s Planning Committee at Bootle Town Hall on Wednesday, 7th February 2024.
The new venture, if planning permission is granted, would be situated inside the former Royal Doulton shop at Unit 11 at the site, next door to Costa Coffee and Mountain Warehouse, which has been vacant since the Royal Doulton china shop closed in the early 2000s.
Central 12 was bought in a deal believed to be worth £27 million in May 2023 by LCP, part of M Core.
LCP has been eager to revitalise the park and attract new national retailers to fill any empty units.
Discount retailer B&M has already opened a new shop at Central 12, creating 30 jobs.
LCP is also in the process of taking over the operation of the car park at Central 12 so they can invest in its development “to make it more attractive to existing and new businesses and a more diverse customer base”.
Proposed floor plans for the site show a McDelivery service area and McDelivery counter to the front right of the building, next to Costa Coffee.
Customers would walk through the front door and into a 140 sq m dining area.
To the rear of the venue are spaces for a Crew Room, offices, freezer, chiller, dry store, female crew change, male crew change, male WC, female WC, and accessible WC.
To the right of the proposed restaurant is space for a 107 sq m kitchen area.
Opening hours included in the application are for 24 hours, seven days a week.
In the submission, Tom Wyatt of Harvey Spack Field said:
“The subject premises comprises a retail unit of approximately 4,562 sq ft arranged over ground floor only and is located on Central 12 Retail Park, Southport.
“We understand the subject unit has been vacant for over 15 years following closure of the Royal Doulton store in the early 2000s.
“Despite continuous marketing throughout the years, no previous owner has been able to secure a new tenant.
“Previous recent attempts by the previous owner to secure a tanning salon in part fell away.
“Upon our marketing instruction, Harvey Spack Field (HSF) and McMullen RE (MRE) have focused the campaign on direct discussions with all likely retail occupiers, as well as an open marketing campaign.
“From a review of the result of this marketing campaign and the wider advertising, we found very little demand from retailers with the vast majority of interest coming from quick service food operators.
“Based upon a lack of interest from retailers over the last 15 years, we see no other realistic way of leasing the subject premises without first securing a change of use.”
A number of local residents have written to Sefton Council to object to the new McDonald’s.
One wrote: “As someone who lives in the near vicinity, I object to this development, and as someone who lives in this town, I object. There are already two McDonald’s restaurants and drive-thrus in Southport. The Eastbank Street one made sense for pedestrianised traffic but Central 12 doesn’t.”
Another wrote: “I am a retired GP with a practice area that included the area of Central 12 and the surrounds for almost 30 years. I know the area well, having family and friends living close to the proposed massive takeaway. I am also well aware of long term conditions suffered by residents both locally, across Sefton and nationally, many of which are triggered or exacerbated by poor diet.”
Another said: “I moved up north recently with my parents and chose to live in Southport, one of the good things is that it is a quiet, peaceful community. I would hate for kids or young people to hang out at the back of our garden.”
The 13-unit Central 12 shopping park, located on Derby Road, close to Southport Railway Station, is anchored by an ASDA superstore. It comprises 162,143 sq ft of open convenience retail with retailers including Poundland, The Range, Boots and Next.
The site also has a car park for 636 vehicles.
It was previously home to the Southport Steamport museum.