Drive-thru plan returns as opposition to it builds

Residents are opposed to the new drive-thru at Skerries Point
Residents are opposed to the new drive-thru at Skerries Point

A change of opening hours on a re-submitted planning application for a drive-thru fast-food restaurant at Skerries Point has not quelled opposition to the project from its neighbours or local political representatives who are arguing it is the development’s location that is the real issue.

A planning application for a 24-hour drive-thru restaurant was withdrawn in the face of a mounting local campaign against it, only to be submitted days later with its proposed opening hours reduced but this amendment to the plan has not satisfied those opposed to the proposal.

In fact, local Green Party representative Joe O’Brien insists that the community response against the drive-thru will be even greater this time.

Mr O’Brien explained: ‘There are a lot of reasons why this drive thru is wrong for Skerries but also very wrong for this particular location. Residents have concerns for an increasingly dangerous road traffic situation in an already hazardous area, there are concerns regarding anti-social behaviour especially at night time but my main issue with the drive-thru is its proximity to the school and also the fact that it is right beside a Montessori school.

‘There is international and national recognition now that fast-food chains deliberately target children and their developing eating habits. In Ireland with a crisis situation with child obesity we need to take every measure we can to keep our children healthy. If permission for this drive-thru is granted then over time thousands of Skerries children will be walking by this restaurant on a daily basis.’

Skerries councillor, Cllr O’Leary (FG) shared Mr O’Brien’s concerns about the location of the development, close to a school and said ‘young impressionable students would be drawn across the road after school to use this facility’.

Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) has also expressed concern about the project’s proximity to a local school. He said: ‘The locating of a fast food outlet across from a primary school flies in the face of efforts by the Department of Health to tackle childhood obesity,’

He added: ‘Here is on an opportunity to safeguard the health of all our next generation by refusing the planning permission for a fast-food drive-thru across from a primary school.’

There will be a public meeting to organise against the drive thru on Thursday June 21 at the Skerries Educate Together National School from 7 to 8pm.

Defending the project’s location close to a school, planning consultants, Corr and Associates, acting for the applicant, Marbleside Ltd., argued in the planning application: ‘The location of the proposed development does not create any conflict regarding schools in the area. The closest school in this case is Skerries Educate Together National School. There are distinct differences between fast food outlets being located proximate to primary schools and post-primary schools.

‘It is not permitted for pupils of primary schools to leave the school grounds during the normal school day. In comparison, many post-primary students are permitted to leave school grounds for lunchtime during the normal school day.’

Fingal Independent