Marchers demand McDonald’s opens

Residents in high-unemployment town protest against red tape that has stopped construction of fast-food outlet

AN ESTIMATED 130 people took to the streets of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise, Pas-de-Calais to protest against delays to the opening of a new McDonald’s restaurant.

Locals, angry that construction of the new fast-food outlet on the outskirts of the town have been suspended due to red tape and legal disputes, decided to make their grievance publicly known yesterday.

The march was organised on social media. The Oui oui au macdo st pol Facebook page has picked up nearly 4,000 likes since it launched on May 20.

Residents of the town of about 5,000, where unemployment is running at 15% had been looking forward to the economic boost of the restaurant, which would create about 30 jobs.

Last week, the Administrative Court of Lille ruled in favour of arguments against the establishment of the American chain on a new industrial zone, which had been set up to support industrial or artisanal activities, rather than commercial ones.

The ruling came after the community of communes of Green Hills St Polois and Syndicat mixte Ternois, which runs a refuse site near the part-finished restaurant argued that planning rules had been breached in granting permission for the venue.

But Nicolas Pruvost, who organised the protest said: We want them to abandon the appeal. Given the number of people mobilised, they can not close their eyes.”

France is the second biggest market for McDonald’s, after America.

Photo: Oui oui au macdo st pol / Facebook