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New Ammanford drive-through McDonald’s plan moves step closer

Another view of the Tesco Superstore car park, Ammanford, where a McDonald's drive-through restaurant is a step closer (Pic: Carmarthenshire Council)

A NEW drive-through McDonald’s in Carmarthenshire is a step closer after a decision by the council’s planning committee.

Councillors were minded to approve the drive-through restaurant in Ammanford but couldn’t formally grant planning permission because of what’s known as a holding direction by the Welsh Government following a “call-in” request. If ministers decide not to call it in the committee’s decision will stand and the development proceed.

The drive-through is planned in the Tesco Superstore car park in Park Street and includes a seated area inside for customers.

Ammanford Town Council and ward councillors Deian Harries and Colin Evans objected to the application although the town council recommended a number of conditions if consent was granted. Included among the 206 other objectors were MP Jonathan Edwards and MS Adam Price with increased traffic, litter, negative impact on existing food business. and the promotion of “unhealthy eating” among the concerns raised.

There were also 100 expressions of support citing the creation of jobs, affordable eating, and the prospect of increased footfall in the town. McDonald’s has said the drive-through restaurant would provide 120 jobs and there would be daily litter patrols and new litter bins with anti-littering signs.

Addressing the committee, council planning officer John Thomas said eating at the venue would be a personal choice. “The named operator, McDonald’s, does have a range on its menu of foods that can be purchased,” he said.

The drive-through would operate 24/7 and Mr Thomas said ample parking would remain for Tesco customers if it was built. He added that external lighting would point downwards rather than spilling across the wider area and the drive-through would prevent McDonald’s customers locally from having to drive to the nearest existing outlet in Cross Hands.

Mr Thomas added that the development site was in a flood zone but environment regulator Natural Resources Wales was satisfied the relevant policy would be complied with.

Cllr Russell Sparks said it struck him that no objectors had come to the committee meeting to address councillors and Cllr Edward Skinner wondered if a decision could be deferred until the Welsh Government had decided whether to call in the application or not. He was advised this wouldn’t be wise and councillors went on to vote unanimously in favour of the officer recommendation of approval subject to the holding direction.