The fight over a new McDonald's in Norwich is far from over, as the wait for the outcome of a planning appeal goes on.

At the end of 2022, Norwich City Council refused plans for the fast food giant to open a new site in Mousehold Lane on the Richard Nash Car Centre site.

McDonald's appealed the decision in September last year and went to the government’s Planning Inspectorate, which has the power to overturn a council’s decisions if it believes they have strayed from the law.

Norwich Evening News: The fast food restaurant would be built on the former Richard Nash Cars siteThe fast food restaurant would be built on the former Richard Nash Cars site (Image: Norwich City Council)

Now, lawyers for the fast food restaurant have upped the ante after Norwich City Council adopted the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) in March, which maps out the areas where homes and businesses could be developed in and around the city.

An updated statement from McDonald's aligns the approved GNLP with the proposed building work, insisting it should not "impact upon the scheme".

The city council claimed customers visiting the proposed restaurant would be overly reliant on cars, meaning that it wouldn't be a "sustainable form of development".

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Lawyers from McDonald's have dismissed this, stating: "We have demonstrated that the proposal would serve a local catchment and a number of trips would be diverted from other McDonald’s, reducing customers' need to travel further afield.

"The site will be used by customers travelling on foot or by bicycle.

"The design of the site includes safe pedestrian and cycle access, along with suitable cycle parking.

Norwich Evening News: McDonald's lawyers promise safe pedestrian access to the restaurantMcDonald's lawyers promise safe pedestrian access to the restaurant (Image: Norwich City Council)

"We have shown that the site is not just a drive-through, with most customers using the building and restaurant.

"The proposal does therefore not disproportionately favour people with a private car, as the authority claim. The proposal is open to all and provides a range of choices and options for the convenience of all."

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Concerns had also been raised about a climbing frame in a children's play area being potentially "dangerous".

The update continues: "No evidence is provided to support the assumption that the playframe would be dangerous to children, due to being a distraction or noisy.

"We have offered to remove the playframe at the inspector’s discretion."

Norwich Evening News: The new site will regenerate the old car dealership siteThe new site will regenerate the old car dealership site (Image: Google)

The report goes on to discuss how the developers would enhance the existing site - which is adjacent to Mousehold Heath.

It continues: "The proposal seeks to develop an existing second-hand car dealership, which is predominantly existing hardstanding.

"The proposal provides a significant level of landscaping to the boundaries, enhancing the onsite green infrastructure."

Last September, a spokeswoman outlined the number of jobs that could be created in the local area, if the appeal were successful: "We believe that there is demand for a new McDonald's restaurant in Mousehold Lane which would bring significant investment into the local area, including at least 120 new full and part-time jobs."

Norwich Evening News: McDonald's already has nine restaurants in the Norwich areaMcDonald's already has nine restaurants in the Norwich area (Image: Joel Anderson)

Sprowston is an area earmarked in the GNLP for major development and thousands of homes, with work expected to begin at Beeston Park before the end of 2024.

Objections - including a campaign against the proposed restaurant called Sprowston's Not Lovin' It - are varied, with some taking against the increased traffic on an already busy road, and others feeling that there are enough fast food restaurants in the area.

McDonald's already occupies nine sites in Norwich, including two in Boundary Road and two in the city centre, with two more nearby in Wroxham and Blofield.

Those involved with the planning application are still waiting to find out if the city's decision to reject the proposal was valid or not. 

The Planning Inspectorate began its decision-making process in January but is yet to reach a conclusion.