Editor's pick: Drive-through residential impact judged minimal

McDonalds has secured permission for a drive-through outlet in Surrey after an inspector agreed that the impact on local residents would not be significantly adverse.

The site comprised a former car dealership next to a busy main road in a predominantly residential area. The appellants stated that the restaurant entrance would be sited a considerable distance from the nearest dwelling and the customer order points, though close to a back garden, would be partly screened by customers’ cars.

They explained that between 10pm and midnight, the ordering point would be switched to "night mode", reducing sound levels to levels similar to those associated with remote entry systems for gates or flats. The inspector agreed that this system, along with a split lane ordering system, would help to minimise disturbance.

In her view, there would be no need for customers to leave their vehicles, no slamming of car doors and only low engine noise. She did not believe that an outside seating area or delivery space would create unacceptable external noise, particularly as a two-metre-high fence was planned along one boundary. This would also prevent any loss of privacy, she reasoned.

Inspector: Joanna Reid; Hearing

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