FAST-food chain McDonald’s is being accused of jumping the gun by starting work on its Blyth burger bar before securing planning permission.
County councillors are due to meet at the Cowpen Road restaurant next week for a site visit before discussing the chain’s application for a 47sq m extension to its front, revamped roof design, cladding, removal of hedges and a tree and fitting of new signs.
However, workmen arrived at the site on Sunday night and some worked until after 1am on Monday cutting construction materials in readiness for the revamp.
A few hours later, a dump truck, pile-driver and JCB were busy on the site, according to neighbours.
David Roe, of nearby Craigmill Park, made a series of phone calls to the county council’s planning department on Monday to find out what it intended to do about the work.
Eventually, he was told an unnamed enforcement officer was under the impression all the work was going on inside the building.
However, having been told the ground was being ripped up, she said she would investigate.
Mr Rowe, a retired computer specialist, said: “If they are allowed to get away with this, the planning office might as well close down.”
He said neighbours were horrified but not surprised at the activity on site.
Objectors to the planning application have referred to previous works there repeatedly being carried out without permission.
The application is recommended for approval by planning officers, but councillors voted for a site visit at the last meeting of the council’s south east area planning committee.
A spokesman for McDonald’s declined to comment.