Beef encounters round the clock could soon be on the menu at McDonald’s in Galashiels

Fast-food giant McDonald’s is preparing for the launch of 24-hour trading at its drive-through restaurant in Galashiels, sparking hopes of more jobs being created.

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 10:10 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 11:40 am
Councillor Euan Jardine at McDonald's in Galashiels.
Councillor Euan Jardine at McDonald's in Galashiels.

The US-based chain’s sole Borders burger bar, at Wilderhaugh, reopened after March’s coronavirus lockdown on Thursday, June 4, initially operating from Tuesday to Thursday only and offering just a limited menu.

Currently, its restaurant is open from 5am to midnight daily, with its drive-through operating between the same times.

Now, though, the company has submitted an application to Scottish Borders Council’s planning department seeking to confirm that the provision of an unrestricted round-the-clock operation, in line with its other outlets nationwide, would be lawful.

That proposed move to allow diners to tuck into Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets in the early hours of the day is being backed, albeit cautiously, by Galashiels councillor Euan Jardine.

He hopes that those extended hours, if approved, would generate much-needed new jobs in the town, but he is also urging that caution be exercised to prevent the outlet becoming a focus for late-night anti-social behaviour potentially causing disruption for residents living nearby.

Mr Jardine said: “I think it is a positive proposal by McDonald’s, and I am sure the changes will mostly cater for people that might be passing through Galashiels in the early hours of the morning.

“However, it can also provide shelter for some people that may need to escape home life for a few hours.

“I would urge caution, however, against the possibility that it might be a place where people could congregate and could become an area for anti-social behaviour issues which would directly affect those living close by.

“Overall, it is good to see further investment by McDonald’s in Galashiels, and I welcome the proposal and I hope it brings with it some more employment opportunities.”

In a letter to planners, Ross Fraser, of Manchester-based Savills, acting as an agent for McDonald’s, said: “We write on behalf of our client to confirm that the unrestricted trading operation of the McDonald’s restaurant and drive-through at Wilderhaugh in Galashiels, is still lawful.

“When planning permission was granted in 2000, it was subject to just one condition, that no direct access was to be taken from the industrial portion of the site to the A72.”

Wilderhaugh’s McDonald’s, opened in 20 years ago on the site of the former Cochrane’s garage, is the chain’s only burger bar in the Borders at the moment, although plans are being drawn up for a second one in Hawick’s Commercial Road in between the town’s Sainsbury’s and Aldi supermarkets.