News Editor Joshua Herman reports on responses to Selly Oak McDonald’s being granted a 24-hour licence

Written by Joshua Herman
Images by Alex Motoc

The Birmingham City Council have announced that they have given a 24-hour licence to the new branch of McDonald’s that is coming to Selly Oak.

This new branch, which will be open to customers both for sit-in and takeaway meals, has been granted opening/closing times between 11pm and 5am. The new McDonald’s will be situated within the Selly Oak Shopping Park.

Birmingham City Council received the application for this new branch on Wednesday 26th of October – they decided to grant the licence upon the following conditions: full licensing training for staff, 24-hour CCTV, security staff on the door, an incident log, and signs requesting customers to leave quietly.

However, police have flagged up concerns about the branch being given this licence – stating that the Selly Oak Shopping Park has ‘been a crime hotspot since opening two years ago.’

A West Midlands Police spokesperson told Birmingham World that ‘In the last 12 months alone the site has experienced 137 recorded crimes. This accounts for four per cent of crime for the whole of the Selly Oak ward.’

A report of the meeting held by Birmingham City Council upon receiving the application for a 24-hour licence, a legal council on behalf of McDonald’s said in response to police concerns that ‘Police concerns were not a relevant consideration.’ 

The report also states that the legal council talked about the environmental benefits of the 24-hour branch. Bringing up McDonald’s use of paper straws and recycling of excess oil into biofuel. As read in the report, ‘Council observed that this was a relevant factor because ensuring the protection of the environment linked directly to public safety, and the protection of the public from nuisance in its widest sense.’

This new branch which will be open to customers both for sit-in and takeaway meals, has been granted opening/closing times between 11pm and 5am

The legal council is also reported to have said that the 10pm-6am shifts would be safer for staff, and  staff said that they encouraged use of this shift.

The Birmingham World article reports on a resident’s concern over the 24-hour licence. The local resident, who has lived in the Selly Oak neighbourhood for 28 years said:

‘Operating any food business in the late night may lead to unhealthy social and/or criminal activities. Not to mention, the cleanliness and hygiene issues as well as the university students/young age groups in the area.’

The report of the meeting with Birmingham City Council details a response to local concerns. It reads:

‘Members carefully considered the representations made by the police, together with the written representation made by the local resident, but were not convinced that there was an overwhelming evidential and causal link between the issues raised by the police and the effect on the licensing objectives. The applicant company was known nationally as a highly responsible operator which did take note of, and participated in, the local community for the benefit of the local people.’

Redbrick reached out to students for comment concerning the 24-hour licence grant and whether or not it would have an impact on the crime of the Selly Oak Shopping Park. One student expressed concern:

‘Being open 24 hours would essentially make it like maccies on the ramp and that’s terrifying enough, if there’s enough security it could definitely be a deterrent to the crime, but my biggest concern about the new McDonald’s in general is it being so close to the hospital and the impact it would have on the main road adjacent.’

‘If there’s increased traffic plus drunk students blocking the way for ambulances that’s really concerning and could have really awful consequences for time critical cases.’

Another student said:

‘I think that a 24/7 McDonald’s is a good idea overall. I think the conditions the McDonald’s have laid out (full licensing, CCTV and security on door) are safe enough. Police concerns with rising crime numbers are futile and the McDonald’s should be allowed to at least try the 24/7 idea and see how it works.’

It should be noted that plans for a McDonald’s in the Selly Oak Shopping Park have been ongoing since late 2020, with them only now being granted a 24-hour licence.

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