McDonald’s expansion blocked as council tells residents they’re already too fat

Plans to add a second drive-thru lane to a McDonald's restaurant have been blocked after the council told its residents that they are already too fat.

The £315,000 expansion was planned by the fast food giants for their branch in the Sydney suburb of Cremorne in Australia.

But residents have been left fuming by the local authority's decision.

The new dual-lane window would have been capable of serving 14 extra people at any one time, but local obesity rates have been cited as the reason for rejecting the proposal.

"There is a concern that increasing accessibility to fast food, via an expanded drive-thru, may negatively influence the eating habits of children and adults, and undermine existing population health strategies to tackle obesity," a spokesperson for North Sydney Local Health District said.

"Data from the Australian Urban Observatory shows that Cremorne already has more than adequate access to fast food.

"Providing greater access to fast food via an expanded, dual lane drive-through is unlikely to result in positive population health outcomes."

Many in Cremorne have objected to that stance, arguing that the local obesity rate in adults is 19 per cent, which is significantly lower than the state average of 33 per cent.

But it has also been suggested by Health District senior managers Andrew Wheeler and Mary McCafferty that the "super-sized" drive-thru would lead to fewer people cycling or walking to the restaurant.

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McDonald's said the move was in line with a shift in people's eating habits since the pandemic as more customers prefer eating in their cars than inside restaurants.

The company also pointed out that it has introduced a range of new healthy options and that the majority of their restaurants now have dual-lane drive-thrus.

"McDonald's has been part of the Cremorne community for more than 40 years," a spokesperson said. "We are reinvesting into the restaurant to make it more accessible and convenient for our customers and crew.

"In the last two years there has been an increase in transactions in the drive-thru of 8.3 per cent which has been offset by a reduction in over-the-counter sales. An additional lane will improve efficiency and reduce traffic congestion for our customers."

Local radio DJ Ben Fordham, meanwhile, dismissed the Health District's concerns as a "non-issue".

He said: "Seriously? What a ridiculous example of Government overreach."

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