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Green light given for site linked to potential McDonald's in Aviemore

By Gavin Musgrove

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The Superdrug store closed last September and has been linked with McDonald's.
The Superdrug store closed last September and has been linked with McDonald's.

The go-ahead has been given to a site in Aviemore linked with being a McDonald's fast food joint to be turned into a restaurant with hot food takeaway.

Members of Highland Council's South Planning Applications Committee approved the variation of condition for the empty unit – previously occupied by Superdrug – at the Aviemore Retail Park.

No mention was made during the short debate at Inverness headquarters on the potential new takers or by the retail park owners agents Montagu Evans in their submission.

The fast food giant confirmed earlier in the year that it is looking to open in Aviemore, and sources claimed the 278 square metres vacant unit – number six – was the most likely destination.

Two local Highland councillors backed the move at yesterday's meeting.

Councillor Bill Lobban, who lives in Aviemore, said: "This is a sensible decision.

"It does not harm to the rest of the town and will probably help occupy a unit which has now been empty for a year and we do not want to see buildings lying empty in a place like this.

"This is good for Aviemore."

Fellow local councillor Russell Jones said: "It is better to have the unit filled than to lie empty as has been the case for the past year or so."

Neighbouring occupiers Costa Coffee and The Snug have food and drink permissions but unit six was specifically excluded from such use as well as hot food takeaways.

Lauren Neil, Highland Council's Area Planning Manager – South stated in her report recommending approval: "The proposal seeks to allow Unit 6 to be used for Class 3 (restaurant or café), with an ancillary hot food takeaway use.

"The applicant has submitted a cover letter alongside this application which states that the unit has been empty since September 2022 and therefore adjusting the use classes to include Class 3 and hot food takeaway would allow more flexibility to ensure the unit is occupied."

She went on to say: "This use is considered to be appropriate to and compatible with the other uses in both the retail park and the longer established nearby units in Grampian Road."

Aviemore Community Council had objected to the variation citing an over-provision of restaurants and cafes in the village and pointing out that the original planning permission referred to only two units having food status.

Competition and the potential occupier of a site are not grounds for refusing consent under planning law.

Montagu Evans has said in the original submission: “It should be noted that the applicant also intends to undertake associated works.

“Details of these proposed works will be submitted for consideration as part of a separate planning application to follow in due course.”

McDonald's is the world's largest fast food restaurant chain serving over 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries in more than 40,000 outlets as of 2021.

The nearest McDonald's to Aviemore is in Inverness.

The Strathy is contacting McDonald's and retail park owners Reality Income Limited to find out who could be moving in.

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