A hand car wash in Matlock is set to be turned into extra parking for McDonald’s – despite strong opposition from the county council, which says fast food fans should be encouraged to bicycle for Big Macs, rather that drive there.
Express Hand Car Wash adjoins the car park for the fast food giant in Bakewell Road.
Under initial plans for the site, a wine retail unit had also been proposed and approved, but the company pulled out.
In its place is a hand car wash, which applied to become a “built facility” in 2015 but this has not happened.
It is proposed that the current car wash site is replaced and Tarmaced over to create space for 17 further parking spots.
The applicant, Matlock firm William Twigg, stated in its submission to Derbyshire Dales District Council: “This additional car parking will ensure that the McDonald’s facility functions to its potential without any overspill of car parking.
“Given other car wash facilities in the area, and the possibility of relocation of the existing operation, the proposal would not represent a significant loss of community facilities.
“The restaurant unit is trading above expectations.
“There are now 65 people employed at the site and McDonald’s anticipate that increasing the parking provision will increase turnover and create more employment, estimated at between 10 and 15 extra staff.
“This demonstrates that the proposed development will not result in the loss of an employment site but merely a change in the nature of the employment which is generated.”
If the plans are approved, the McDonald’s site would have 53 parking spaces.
District council officers have recommended that the plans are approved stating that it “would improve the character and appearance of the site on this gateway to the town centre”.
Derbyshire County Council, speaking as the highways authority for the area, said that it does not “generally sanction” additional car parking space that is not related to an increase in development – stating that this “is regarded as being contrary to the principles of sustainability”.
It feels that providing further spaces could encourage further car-based travel, which it says “contradicts local initiatives and national policies”.
Ian Turkington, writing on behalf of the county council, stated: “The highway authority is not aware of a particular issue relating to ‘over-spill’ parking on the existing highway.
“Further justification and evidence should therefore be presented identifying when parking demands exceeds existing on-site provision and what any consequences of this may be in terms of highway safety.
“Given the site is conveniently located close to the town centre and the pedestrian access improvements have been undertaken, the applicant should be encouraging alternative access modes (such as bikes) to and from the site, rather than extending car parking provision for motor vehicles.”
The plans will be decided on Tuesday, August 14 by the district council planning committee.
Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service