Published: 25th March, 2011
by PETER GRUNER
FAST-FOOD giant McDonald’s has sparked a major row by planning to turn its Angel restaurant into a near 24-hour operation.
Neighbours are expected to challenge the late opening when the bid comes up for approval at Islington Council’s licensing committee on Monday morning.
The plan is for the food outlet at Chapel Market to remain open until 5am every day. Currently, it closes at 11pm and opens at 5.30am.
The company says the longer hours are to cater for the growing night-time economy by moving away from traditional opening times.
However, neighbours fear increased noise, anti-social behaviour and litter will result.
David Gibson, chairman of Islington Society, said he was not against late-night outlets where there is a need.
“But I feel 5am is rather late to be open,” he said. “I sympathise with residents who experience noise at night and then again in the morning when the streets are cleaned.”
Islington Council’s Lib Dem opposition leader Councillor Terry Stacy hit out at the plan.
“Why does anyone want to buy a burger at 5am?” he asked. “I can’t understand why McDonald’s need to stay open until the early hours. There doesn’t seem any need for it.
“I share all the residents’ concerns. Chapel Market has a large resident population with people living above the shops. They put up with noise all day and that’s fine because it’s a market. But they deserve a little peace in the morning.”
Shoppers in the market interviewed by the Tribune this week were mostly against plans for extended hours. Mother of three June Turnbull said: “It will simply become a place for teenagers to congregate late at night and early in the morning. “I don’t want to have to get up at 5am in the morning and go and pick one of kids up who has decided to meet their mates at McDonald’s.”
Another local resident, Joan, was worried about cooking smells emanating for the restaurant. “You don't want to have to smell burgers while you are asleep,” she said.
Not everyone is against the idea. One resident, Samantha Twydell, daughter of the chairman of Chapel Market Traders Association, David Twydell, thought a late-night night restaurant, provided it was properly managed, was “reasonable”.
Disagreeing with her father, who opposes the McDonald’s application, she added: “People go out clubbing to the early hours. And they want somewhere to have a coffee and a snack. There are other late-night places around Chapel Market so why not McDonald’s? As long as they keep the noise down I can’t see the problem.”
But stallholder John Flack and Shake Gallery shop owner Leo Briski are backing residents fighting the longer hours.
Mr Flack said: “We are not allowed to put up our stalls before 6.30am on Saturday because residents complain about the noise. They have a right to some peace and quiet like all of us.”
No one at McDonald’s was available to comment.
The application will be discussed by a licensing committee at Islington Town Hall at 10am on Monday.