Thursday, 24 August 2017

WORK COMMENCES AT MCDONALD'S SITE thumbnailWork is continuing this week on the site for the new McDonald's restaurant on the Railway Road, Strabane.

WORK on the new McDonald's restaurant in Strabane is underway with the fast-food outlet due to open sooner than expected in mid December.

The American chain had originally forecast an opening date in early 2018 but it has now been confirmed that it will open this side of Christmas.

Work to clear the site vacated by Pat Kirk's garage on Railway Street is almost complete with construction on the premises then anticipated to begin in the coming works.

Plans include the erection of a free-stand restaurant with a drive-thru, car parking, landscaping and associated works, as well as an external play area.

The development means the town is also in line for a substantial jobs boost with almost twice the number of positions than first anticipated on offer.

In the region of 120 people will be recruited. Some managerial roles have already been filled with further recruitment scheduled in October ahead of the restaurant's much-anticpated opening.

The opening of an outlet in the town has long been in the pipeline with the worldwide chain officially gaining planning permission a year ago.

The application, which attracted two letters of objection, was initially held up over traffic concerns raised by Transport NI. Those matters were subsequently ironed out and last September council gave the proposals the green light.

A spokesperson for McDonald's confirmed yesterday (Tuesday) that it anticipates opening this winter and whilst a date has yet to be set in stone, this newspaper understands that the company is aiming for a date in mid December.

"We are delighted to be opening our new McDonald's restaurant in Strabane in winter 2017 and over the past number of months we have been recruiting in the region of 16 trainee managers," a spokesperson said.

"A number of positions have now been filled but we will be opening our recruitment process again in October for full and part time crew positions."

Sinn Fein's Michaela Boyle says the news coupled with the recent confirmation that a well-known furniture store is setting up in the former Linton & Robinsons store will hopefully pave the way for other investors to come to the town.


The local MLA says the McDonald's development will make way for much needed jobs and career advancement opportunities especially for young people and also help to retain and attract further trade to the town.

"Since Derry City and Strabane District Council granted planning approval for the McDonald's at Railway Road last September, the construction and opening of the restaurant has been eagerly anticipated, not least amongst the town's younger generations. With the envisaged number of jobs being created being now being estimated to be around 120 up from the original 60 planned, the restaurant will not only provide much needed jobs and career advancement opportunities especially for our young people but also of equal importance help to retain and attract further trade to the town.

"For years families have been leaving the Strabane and surrounding areas to go to shop in other urban centres not least because they have McDonald's restaurants. Having a McDonald's in Strabane will further support efforts to remain and shop local and bring in further visitors," she said.

She continued: "This is a good news story for the town coming on the back of confirmation that House Proud Furnishings Ltd have now purchased the former Linton & Robinsons store which will engender additional employment creation and further footfall into the town centre.

"These major investments will also help increase our rates base and in turn serve to assist in helping to make Strabane an attractive proposition for other investors to set up and do business."

The SDLP's Daniel McCrossan has also welcomed the McDonald's venture but said he will be seeking clarity over the 120 jobs.

"Whilst there remain many questions about the nature or quality of these positions, I will seek clarity in the hope McDonald's have moved beyond any defence of zero hour contracts and provide the living wage to their employees with solid contractual hours.

"If Strabane is to remain competitive, we must offer people what they want locally. We need anchor tenants in our town to attract other potential business and investment. This is a positive start. Strabane is open for business and I fully welcome anchor tenants to the area," he added.


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