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McDonald's Aviemore extension granted but agreement smells bad for The Winking Owl

By Scott Maclennan

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McDonald's. Picture: Gary Anthony.
McDonald's. Picture: Gary Anthony.

McDonald's takeaway in Aviemore has been granted planning permission to extend its premises. But the changes reopened a familiar spat with the nearby Winking Owl and community concerns about anti-social behaviour.

The takeaway is located next to the Winking Owl but relatively small changes to the rear of the building – external alterations for a ventilation system and a “corral” area for waste and recycling – have raised eyebrows locally.

Aviemore and Vicinity Community Council objected to the proposal arguing that “the proposed finish to the rear extension is out of character with the surrounding units” and could be visible from Myrtlefield, the Winking Owl and even Grampian Road.

It also hit out at the “impact and disruption of the extension required to create space at the rear” while worrying that there was insufficient bin space outside for those eating their Big Macs in their cars.

The community council also sought “reassurance on what measures will be taken to avoid people congregating and wish to avert the recent issues at Fort Williams MacDonald’s.”

But they got none. Officials presenting the application at today’s south planning committee noted that some in the community are worried about anti-social behaviour but that was not a planning concern and would be for Police Scotland.

The plan has a bad smell for Star Pubs & Bars Ltd – the owners of The Winking Owl – which also objected to the plan because it said it lacked an odour assessment for those visiting the pub as only residential impacts were looked at.

The objection stated: “The beer garden of the Pub is immediately adjacent to the rear of the proposed development and exposes patrons to the potential for odour from the development,” adding: “This impact requires to be assessed.”

Again Star Pubs & Bars Ltd raised the issue that “no consideration” was given to a noise assessment for pub goers though one appears to have been done for “residential property on the east side of Grampian Road.”

The company also objected to how hot food use would move closer to the boundary of the pub, how there could be cooking odour brought closer to the pub and how condensers would be brought significantly closer to the pub.

Councillor Bill Lobban said:

“This is an open tin shed about the size of a single garage, attached to a bigger tin shed next door to another tin shed – neither of the two existing big tin sheds have got any architectural merit whatsoever. And this doesn't make it any better or worse.

“One of the objections is that it would have disruption during construction – I don’t ever remember the exact same organisation which mentioned this talking about ‘disruption during construction’ when either of these two big tin sheds or the 350 parking places were mentioned.

“In fact, they didn’t. This is a sensible application to the centre of Aviemore and it will bring more business to the centre of Aviemore.”

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