Plans to open McDonald’s drive-through in Hawick being recommended for thumbs-up

Fast-food fans in Hawick could soon be lovin’ it as plans for a McDonald’s drive-through restaurant in the town are being recommended for approval.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 4:19 pm
Councillor Watson McAteer at the Commercial Road site.

Members of Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee are being to advised to give proposals for the outlet, lined up for the former Bruce Motors car showroom site in Commercial Road, the thumbs-up at their meeting next week.

The plans would also see the town’s B&M Bargains store move from its current location in Croft Road to a larger site beside the new McDonald’s, creating an estimated 60 jobs overall.

However, even if given the go-ahead at next Monday’s committee meeting, the application, submitted by Edinburgh developer Image Estates Queen Street, will need to clear a further hurdle before the US-based chain’s golden arches logo is seen in Hawick.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is maintaining its objection to the plans on the grounds of potential flood risk, so that means that even if agreed by committee members, the bid will have to go to Holyrood ministers for final approval.

Nevertheless, news of the approval recommendation for the plans has been welcomed within the town.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer said: “I certainly hope these progress smoothly through the planning process and then move to the construction phase.

“These new businesses will increase footfall and provide a welcome economic boost to the town.

“I know the prospect of a McDonald’s is eagerly awaited by the many young people who currently have to travel to either Gala or Carlisle to enjoy this popular brand of fast food.”

Felllow Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson said: “I’m absolutely delighted that it is recommended for approval.

“I have been shouting for this for ages. I even wrote to the boss of McDonald’s in the UK after having several constituents asking me about the possibility of attracting an outlet like this to the town and I mentioned the site at Commercial Road.

“I use the McDonald’s in Gala and it’s amazing the large amounts of Hawick folk that travel there, so hopefully this will help to keep many Hawick folk in the town and create much-needed jobs.

“I’m absolutely delighted that this is now looking like it’s going to be a reality.”

In his report, council planner Stuart Herkes says: “It is considered that the proposed development is acceptable subject to the imposition of the schedule of conditions.

“Owing to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s outstanding objection in principle to this proposal on the grounds that the development would be at risk of, and would cause, unacceptable flooding impacts on the site and in the surrounding area, any approval of this application by members would itself require referral to, and approval by, Scottish ministers.”

The new development, between the town’s Aldi and Sainsbury’s stores on land now owned by the council’s flood protection scheme team, would be expected to boost trade in Hawick town centre rather than posing an additional threat to its troubled High Street, according to Mr Herkes.

He writes: “The area has been transformed into a commercial hub and is considered to be a welcome offshoot and support to the high street.

“Further new developments are welcomed if they support new employment opportunities.

“The site appears able to accommodate the level of floor space shown and would likely encourage further footfall to this area, especially a new drive-through hot-food operation.”