Public inquiry into McDonald’s plans for Tingley White Bear site continues

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A public inquiry about a five-times-refused plan to develop a McDonald’s at the old White Bear pub site in Tingley continued today (Friday).

Director of ADL Traffic Engineering Allan Mendelsohn, making a case for the fast food company, was put under cross-examination.

Plans to build the restaurant with a drive-through in Dewsbury Road near Tingley Roundabout have been refused by Leeds City Council because of potential noise and disturbance to the nearby residential area.

During the inquiry’s opening on Monday, which follows an appeal by McDonald’s, it was put forward by the opposing Rule Six party that the restaurant would be a highways safety issue. They claimed that it would further aggravate the “third worst accident blackspot” in Leeds.

But Mr Mendelsohn said today that it is actually the fourth worst. He added: “I understand from my discussions with the Highways Authority that the vast majority are slight accidents and most are to do with drivers failing to observe the traffic signals.”

And he said spots where accidents have occurred are throughout the entire Tingley gyratory road system – not just the immediate area specific to where the restaurant would be.

Rule Six are concerned that there would be increased levels of parking on the old Dewsbury Road – just next to the A653 highway of the same name – if the company’s appeal was upheld.

Albert Appleton, of HY Consulting which is representing the Rule Six party, has suggested in previous evidence that the developers had “grossly underestimated” the levels of traffic and parking that would affect the area.

Mr Mendelsohn said: “We are not saying that nobody is going to park on the old Dewsbury Road, people used it for the White Bear and do for the [New] Scarborough.

“We would say that the number of people who are likely to park on it is going to be very little.”

Rule Six also believe traffic problems could arise if the car park is at full capacity.

HY Consulting company director Chris Yarrow suggested that surveys carried out by McDonald’s did not fully take into account how busy peak times at the restaurant could be.

If the car park was full, the customer would use the drive-through, circle around once or twice until a space became available or visit a different McDonald’s, said Mr Mendelsohn.

Earlier in the hearing he was asked by barrister James Pereira, also for McDonald’s, to address concerns about the safety of schoolchildren crossing from the neabry Wookkirk Academy because of possible increased traffic.

After assessments were carried out it was found that, of the 100 which passed through the development site to Dewsbury Road during a survey, the vast majority used signalled crossings.

Planning inspector Matthew Birkinshaw is making a visit to the site today and closing arguments are due to be offered this afternoon. A decision will be made later in the year.