A series of violent assaults outside a 24-hour McDonald’s has prompted calls for the hamburger restaurant to have its licence reviewed.
Earlier this week an 18-year-old man had to undergo surgery after being stabbed near to the fast-food venue in the Drapery.
A fortnight before that – on August 22 – a man in his 40s had his nose broken when a group of teenagers stamped on his head.
The incidents are just two in a series of violent attacks to have taken place on the paved area surrounding McDonald’s. The most serious of which came in February, when 24-year-old Bradley Matcham was killed after being struck by a single punch.
Yet the venue – which often acts as a congregating area for people leaving late nightclubs and bars – has never had its round-the-clock opening hours reviewed.
Opposition councillors on the borough council say the opening hours of the venue and the policing patrols in that part of the Drapery now need addressing urgently.
“We can’t just sit back and wait for another major incident,” said Danielle Stone, leader of the Labour opposition group. “It’s not just that this is a focal point in the early hours – there‘s not enough policing in the area.”
Earlier this week, Councillor Stone requested a review of the McDonald’s licence with the borough council. Such hearings are held at the Guildhall and take place when a bar, club, restaurant or shop has infringed the terms of its trading licence. The borough council says McDonald’s is complying with the conditions of its licence – but interested parties can call for a licence review at any time.
A police spokeswoman said: “We are aware that the Drapery is a crime and disorder hotspot and have sought to tackle this issue by increasing the number of patrols in the area at peak times.
"This has included increased patrols between 3am and 5am and during the night-time economy on Friday and Saturday nights. We are also working alongside the management at McDonald’s to address the issues that take place outside of their restaurant.”
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said the restaurant was fulfilling the terms of its licence.
She said: “The safety and security of our people and our customers is our absolute priority, and we’ve taken additional measures to ensure the restaurant remains a welcoming environment.
“We have positive working relationships with the police and the local council, and have been invited to sit on the town centre tasking group to help advise on issues affecting the local
community and find solutions that work for all.”
A Northampton Borough Council spokeswoman said: “The Drapery McDonald’s is compliant with every condition of its licence and has taken additional steps to make its premises safe, but interested parties can call for a licence review at any time.
“Our licencing and community safety teams are working closely with the police and McDonald’s.”