McDonalds Drive Through at Ritz Parade: A new planning application?

The Bowes Ward Councillors website has drawn attention to a new planning application for the Ritz Parade site at 188 Bowes Road N11 by an agent working for McDonald's.

Around a year ago significant opposition to the Planning Application for a "Drive Thru2 (sic) "Restaurant" (sic) led to McDonald's withdrawing their bid.

The current application is not for a restaurant, but simply advertising - including what they call an advertising "totem" (identified here) the detailed drawings for the ad includes a reference to a McDonald's "Drive Thru". The Block Diagram (drawn up in May 2014) details where the advertisement would be placed on the site ... but also shows on the same map the proposed site for a drive thru restaurant ... for which there is no current planning application.

Are they really only planning to put up advertisements? Or is this a pre-cursor to a new application for a McDonald's outlet... located adjacent to a secondary school and opposite a primary school ... and also taking up the only sizeable chunk of development land in the area - land that might be used to build a new primary school and to provide some of the much-needed school places in short supply locally?

  • You can read the full planning application and all supporting documents
    on the
    LB Enfield website

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Looking at the planning documents, and backing up from the search page there are other signage planning applications, it looks very much as if McDonalds are preparing to make a second attempt to go ahead with a Drive-through restaurant at 188 Bowes Road. Perhaps someone with a bit more savvy that I can inform local residents whether this is the case.

If so, certainly we should have a discussion as to whether it is a good idea or not. However let's not immediately assume it is a bad idea. We should have open minds and consider the pros and cons.

Hi Richard, Hi Geoff, back after a while

Just to make one point re: McDos and Ritz Parade...the Council has explicit policy trying to keep fast food outlet at a distance from schools. Question of encouraging kids to live healthily

Hi Alan

I entirely take your point but without wishing to go into a long discourse, there is nothing intrinsically unhealthy about the food offered in McDonalds restaurants. The content in terms of calories, fat, carbs &c are all freely available and printed on the back of their paper place mats and it is actually quite hard to go over the recommended daily intake for any of these unless you are eating more than one serving, or twice a day. There are also particularly healthy options which are indeed way down in fats, carbs and calories - more so than a sandwich from Pret a Manger. So it is not a question of what they serve, but of what school students ask for. THAT is a matter for education by parents, peers and schools. After all, watch the APS boys and girls streaming across to the shops on Alexandra Park Road at lunchtime for their crisps and chocolate bars. Who is "policing" this unhealthy "fast food" option? So let's have a level playing field.

It is too easy to criticise McDonalds when - if your children are in danger of unhealthy eating - the real targets are elsewhere.

McDonalds also provide employment opportunities for plenty of youngsters. As I pointed out on this thread a year ago, my niece wne t round Europe for 9 months on the proceeds of working in McDonalds.

If there are other serious issues such as littering, by all means lets discuss those and what we can do to alleviate it.

There is an Enfield planning policy (I don't think it's changed) stating that fast food outlets should not open within 400m of a secondary school.  I assume that the 400m is measured from the front door of the school to the front door of the fast food outlet. This could be why McDonalds withdrew the previous application, to tweak front door position.

A McDonalds drive through will encourage more traffic to the area and will be positioned at a point along the A406 where tail backs occur.  Not ideal if we are looking to improve air quality.

McDonalds seem pretty determined to move in.

BHORA have posted an objection letter that can be downloaded from their website (, and sent to Enfield Council. 

Hi Andrea, think I deleted a reply so again here is what I wrote Caroline at BHORA

Achilleas, Yasemin and I as the Bowes ward cllrs - together with Bambos Charalambous - successfully opposed this last time around based on reasons indicated already on this thread and others still.

Joined by our new colleagues from Southgate Green ward - Claire Stewart and Daniel Anderson - our position is firmer than ever. 

The problem is that as far as I understand, McDonalds owns the parcel in question, meaning that their renewed application indicates serious intent on their part.

Now, I'm not quite clear on some of the logic above but can express things simply. The reality is that we have devised a strong planning framework allowing us to defend our position - and represent our constituents' will - based on sound reasoning. Unfortunately, in any situation like this there is the risk that lawyers may decide to argue differently. 

Hopefully it won't come to that but that's where the politics would come in.

Will keep everyone informed here and/or on the Bowes Labour blogspot

Let's not forget that over 100 local residents also sent letters of objection to the planning department.

One of the many things local residents have learnt over the years is that when opposing a planning application sound reasons must be presented.

The present application is for a sign to be put up.  Can the councillors list sound reasons we can use when sending letters of objection to the planning department?

Sure Laura and again, many of these reasons are already listed above in friends' posts

Including: proximity to schools/the Council's health policies; North Circular Area Action Plan envisioning other uses for the site; congestion problems (hence safety but also air quality concerns) on the North Circular, etc. 

Otherwise and to clarify, we oppose because it's the right thing but also because it represents the opinion of the vast majority of constituents who have indeed been giving us a pretty clear steer.

With a few exceptions (see above) but that's democracy for you!

Take care Laura, hope all is well. Alan

The sticking point at the moment is that the LBE planning website only includes planning applications for signs rather than a drive thru/take away or have I missed the link to the full application?

I guess opposing signs for something that doesn't exist is the way forward and then when the full application is available we can oppose that in the same way as before.

Previously McDonalds withdrew their application, anyone know why?

Hi again,

We can always try to guess but as far as I'm aware, no explicit reasons were given

Interesting to note that local Tory MP David Burrowes is also opposed to the development - despite an affiliation to a  party that is enamoured with "Market Forces" it seems he is not "Loving It" and is organising "stunt protests" against it.

... and whilst it looks like (bizarrely?)  there is divided opinion on this forum amongst unsuccessful Green Party candidates (who were not elected in May) our Labour Party Councillors (who were elected in May) are opposed to the development too ...

Additionally over 100 local people directly objected to the development last time. 

... and yet whilst popular opinion is opposed and democratically elected representatives from different parties are opposed and it does not fit within existing planning directives and regulations we are being prepared to anticipate a legal battle from McDonald's on the basis of their economic power to buy the land and employ the most expensive lawyers which, it seems, is sufficient to drive through their demands ...

As you say Cllr Sitkin "that's democracy for you" ... and it's no wonder people are so disengaged, disenchanted and disenfranchised.

If we want to oppose any planning application we need to use planning law successfully, whether it be local, regional or national planning law.  Then hopefully no solicitor, however big and clever they are, can bully a local authority into granting planning permission.

McDonalds menu, the rubbish customers might drop on the pavement etc won't make any difference to decisions the planning committee make.

So, if we don't want a McDonalds in our area, for what ever reason, we need to find the right planning laws. 

I still want a Co-operative supermarket on the site!


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