'Disappointment' for town centre with McDonald's branch closure
- Credit: Mick Howes
A branch of McDonald's in a prominent position on the main approach to a town centre has been "permanently closed."
Signs were being removed as the McDonald's restaurant on London Road North, Lowestoft was being emptied on Thursday, April 22 - a day after a brand new restaurant for the fast food chain had opened elsewhere in the town.
Having hosted memorable children's parties and served tens of thousands of people in Lowestoft town centre over the past 35 years, the closure has shocked business leaders.
The opening of a new McDonald's restaurant at the site of a former garage off Mill Road at Horn Hill in South Lowestoft is understood to have triggered the closure - with a relocation notice greeting people in the town centre this week.
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “We can confirm that the existing London Road North restaurant has now permanently closed due to its relocation to Kirkley Rise.
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"All of our restaurant crew have been transferred to the new restaurant and an additional 55 new jobs have been created.
"We look forward to continuing to serve the local community.”
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Last week, officials at Lowestoft Vision – the town’s business improvement district (BID) – which is managed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, had offered a warm welcome back to shoppers and people visiting the town as restrictions were relaxed with lockdown easing.
But of the closure, Dan Poitras, chairman of Lowestoft Vision, said: "It sounds like they have shut the restaurant in town down, which is a shame.
"Its a large empty unit to have, particularly for people coming just across the bridge.
"But for restaurants and cafés in the area, this could be a benefit to them as they may be able to take advantage of this closure.
"As a retail unit being vacant at the top of town, it is a bit of a disappointment and personally I think they are making a mistake.
"Both McDonald's restaurants are now on the south side of the bridge, and it is a bit of a shock really.
"But it is also now a great opportunity for another business to offer a different variety in the town.
"This prominent building is in an excellent position on the main approach to the town centre - so there is a huge opportunity there."
With the McDonald's restaurant dating back to 1984/85, it used to be the prominent former Suffolk Hotel, which was built in 1873 and lasted almost a century before it was demolished in 1971.
Later the building became Liptons supermarket, before the then Waveney District Council granted permission - despite petitions and protests - to convert Liptons into a restaurant in August 1984.