Metro Bank has dropped plans to open a drive-through branch in Charlton, with McDonald’s looking to rebuild and expand its restaurant on Bugsby’s Way instead.
Plans for a bank on the busy site were approved by council officers 16 months ago as Metro, which has high street branches in Bexleyheath, Bromley and the City of London, looked to expand its presence across the country.
But just four months later the bank was forced to rein in its plans after recording a thumping £131m loss. Now McDonald’s is looking to stay put – and Metro Bank has confirmed to The Charlton Champion it has withdrawn from Charlton.
“We are no longer looking at the Charlton site. We will be opening two new stores in 2021, in Bradford and Leicester,” a spokesperson said.
McDonald’s is now looking to knock down its existing site, which it says suffers from subsidence, and start again with a two-storey building. “Whilst the proposed building is bigger, this is to improve the overall operation, rather than the scale of the restaurant,” it says. “The proposed second floor will be used for back of house only. The dining area would only increase minimally and the number of covers would increase from 90 to 95.”
It also wants to introduce a “side-by-side” operation in the drive-through, increasing the capacity for cars from 11 to 15.
On litter, it says: “It is company policy to conduct a minimum of three daily litter patrols, whereby employees pick up not only McDonald’s packaging, but also any other litter that may have been discarded in a 150m vicinity of a restaurant. This may be expanded to suit local needs.”
The site is earmarked long-term for residential development as part of the Charlton Riverside masterplan. A council report following the Metro Bank application said: “Whilst the proposals would not incorporate residential uses …it is noted that the redevelopment of the wider area known as Woolwich Road West is not envisaged to come forward till at least the next plan period; with the current plan period running until 2028. It is therefore reasonable to assume that redevelopment of the area is likely to be realised in the medium-term, rather than short-term.”
Close by, Asda has also applied for permission to build an extension into its car park to accommodate home shopping and drive-in click-and-collect services. The application, which was submitted in February, seeks the go-ahead to build out into the area currently used for minibuses.
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