McDonald’s draws Hampstead residents’ anger yet again with bid to open until 1am

Jessica Learmond-Criqui and Cllr Simon Marcus outside McDonald's in Hampstead High Street

Jessica Learmond-Criqui and Cllr Simon Marcus outside McDonald's in Hampstead High Street - Credit: Archant

McDonald’s has risked the fury of Hampstead residents once again after submitting an application to extend opening hours at its branch in Hampstead High Street.

The fast food restaurant, which opened to strong opposition from residents led by the late Peggy Jay in 1992, is hoping to serve until 1am on Friday and Saturday and until midnight on other nights.

The burger joint is no stranger to controversy and this is not the first time it has tried to extend licensing hours.

In 2011, it submitted an application to keep the doors open until midnight seven nights a week.

After a David and Goliath-style battle between councillors and the solicitors representing McDonald’s, the licensing committee eventually compromised and allowed the branch its extension on Friday and Saturday nights only.

Undeterred by the concerns, this latest application looks to outdo the previous bid and seek an even longer extension.

Councillors Chris Knight and Simon Marcus, Conservative representatives for Hampstead Town, have already submitted an objection to licensing officials, saying it would cause a public nuisance to residents.

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Cllr Knight said he was not “anti-burger” nor was he against the McDonald’s brand.

But he added: “Longer opening hours create more litter and more noise.

“We’ve already had problems with Tinseltown on Heath Street and it’s time to say ‘enough is enough’.

“The later hours aren’t really for the people of Hampstead but for those travelling through who may want a late-night coffee or burger.

“This only suits a non-local crowd and residents should be given a break.”

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, a solicitor who spearheads the Hampstead Shops Campaign, said: “Any extension would represent a risky venture for Hampstead.

“It will completely change the character of the area, which is known for being quite sleepy after midnight, and if this gets the go-ahead it will be very bad news.”

The closing date for comments is October 8.