The Independent London Newspaper
23rd August 2014

Letters

McDonald's set to leave Hampstead High Street, the branch it fought to open for 12 years

Published: 1 November 2013
By RICHARD OSLEY

IT spent 12 years fighting for the right to sell Big Macs in Hampstead High Street in one of Camden's longest running and famous planning rows.

But, two decades after defeating the 'Burger Off' campaign in NW3, McDonald's are set to close the store at the centre of the dispute.

The Hampstead branch will serve its final Happy Meal on November 16, it was revealed today (Friday).

The multinational fast food operators had originally bought the property in 1980 but ran into huge resistance from local residents who said McDonald's would lead to littered Hampstead streets reeking of kitchen fumes.

Camden's planners refused to let it open the store, triggering the 12 year legal fight which ended in 1992. The legend has it that McDonald's agreed to have black signs, rather than the garish red and yellow colour scheme it used elsewhere, to appese the critics.

When it finally opened, nationals sent colour writers to capture the event. Ian Katz, now the producer of Newsnight, wrote in the Guardian: "It was fitting that Ben Williamson, the seven-year-old charged with blessing the reluctant marriage between McDonald's and the intellectually wholesome enclave of Hampstead, north London, should have chosen a Fillet-o-Fish rather than the iconic big Mac to mark the event. 'It's the only sort of burger I can eat,' he explained. 'I'm a vegeterian'."

The opposition against the store had pulled in support from a host of famous faces including actor Tom Conti, novellist Margaret Drabble and the late Peggy Jay, mother of broadcaster Peter Jay.

Ms Drabble said at the time: "My loathing of McDonald's is intense. There are advantages in development provided it is the right sort, but there are already too many take-away restaurants in Hampstead."

There were anti-McDonald's rallies on the Heath and original protest songs written to help up drum a petition signed by thousands.

McDonald's maintained at the time they were taken completely by surprise by the opposition. Lawyers said complaints filed by the Gayton Road Association "borders on hysteria". The company was in the middle of a surge of new openings in the United Kingdom, particularly in London. It had only been repelled in one other area: Martha's Vineyard, again falling prey to a celebrity driven resistance that included objectiosn from Carly Simon and Mia Farrow.

The Hampstead Shops Campaign said it was "dramatic news" that the branch would now close "as we have become used to this store in the neighbourhood".

The branch recently abandoned its plans to secure a later licence that would have allowed it to close at midnight.

 

Comments

GOOD RIDDENS TO MCDONALDS

VEGETARIAN REVOLUTION SITS WELL WITH ME.

beam me up snooty

It doesn't matter whether its a chain or not it's the nose-in-the-air brigade coming out in droves with their my cars better than yours attitude and frankly it stinks!

Rewind to the closure of the independent bookstore that closed after many years in Englands Lane. Or the existance of a Starbucks coffee shop a few spots along which they're supposedly so highly opposed to, yet amazingly is always choc full of them.

Please get your priorities in order Hampsteadites.

MacDonalds

What a shame. I'm against McDonalds on principle and all that they stand for but it was the only place in Hampstead where one could get a fast cup of coffee and at a honest price. It was actually quite tastefully done out too. Nice pictures of Hampstead scenes on the walls.
It wasn't as bad as that awful Starbucks across the road....Now there is a chain I would like to see kicked out of London!

Strange

Right by a busy Tube station used by thousands of school kids am surprised at this news.

I do wonder what happened?

Why?

Why are McDonald's withdrawing from Hampstead?

entitled snobs is a bit light

The wealthy and well educated NIMBYs of Camden borough like to try and hold back the real world. All of them seem to have a problem with reality - they are all so left wing until someone threatens their immensely privileged lifestyle, or normal poor people try and get on with their lives.

entitled snobs is a bit light

The wealthy and well educated NIMBYs of Camden borough like to try and hold back the real world. All of them seem to have a problem with reality - they are all so left wing until someone threatens their immensely privileged lifestyle, or normal poor people try and get on with their lives.

Hampstead residents, be

Hampstead residents, be careful what you wish for! I live in Muswell Hill and when Woolworths shut down the nimby mob were against Waitrose taking the site, they "didn't want a chain". Well, they got a 99p shop instead and now they've got a "The Money Shop" to boot. In addition, KFC was replaced by "Kennedy Fried Chicken" not really a chain but it makes KFC look classy, however we do now have a beloved Waitrose.

Kennedy Chicken

FYI It' Kennedy Chicken not Kennedy Fried Chicken. just saying p.s It takes some ....... to replace a Kentucky Fried Chicken p.p.s especially in a area like Muswell HILL Which has been hijacked by a few hysterical unemployed busy bodies who spend their whole life going through every planning application with a fine tooth comb and then being pedantic and petty. P.P.P.S If only they used that comb on themselves tut tut. !

I don't like McDonald's one

I don't like McDonald's one bit, but the residents of Hampstead are a bunch of entitled snobs and I couldn't care one bit less what they think.

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