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Swans fans 1 McDonald's 0: Fast food giant won't stand in way of growing Liberty

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 12, 2012

Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins outside the Liberty Stadium

McDonald's gained planning permission for a drive-through restaurant from Swansea Council in February - a decision that drew scathing criticism from Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins

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THOUSANDS of Swans fans will breathe easier today after McDonald's scrapped its restaurant plans by the Liberty Stadium.

The news comes as proposals to expand the stadium to go to 35,000 capacity were discussed at a conference in the city yesterday.

Fast food giant McDonald's gained planning permission for a drive-through restaurant from Swansea Council in February — a decision that drew scathing criticism from Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins and a backlash among many fans.

Mr Jenkins claimed the decision, made by a committee of councillors against officers' recommendation, could jeopardise stadium expansion proposals.

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McDonald's has stressed it had no knowledge of any expansion proposal — and no planning application as such has been submitted to date, despite comments by Swansea City director Martin Morgan, which can be found on page 18 of tonight's Evening Post. McDonald's, meanwhile, wants to build a restaurant beside the nearby Swansea Tennis Centre.

"We have submitted plans to the council for a restaurant on an alternative site at Morfa Retail Park, to allow for expansion plans to go ahead at Liberty Stadium," said a McDonald's spokeswoman.

"We were not made aware of any plans to expand the stadium during the planning process for the site adjacent to the ground, as this was raised after permission to build had been granted and not during the public consultation process.

"We would never knowingly obstruct any plans that have been drawn up to extend the stadium, which is why we are so surprised this was not raised during the 18-month open public consultation period.

"With so many of our staff lifelong Swans fans we fully understand the reaction, which is why we are now working with the council and the club to find an outcome to suit all parties."

A relieved Mr Jenkins said: "As a club we are very pleased that McDonald's and the council have worked together to find a solution.

"We are delighted that all parties concerned now see the importance of the future development of the Liberty Stadium. It will allow more supporters from the community to watch the Swans at the Liberty with improved facilities and match day experience."

The club has said it is continuing to investigate expansion proposals, adding that further details will follow in due course.

richard.youle@swwmedia.co.uk

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  • SAswan  |  May 15 2012, 1:03PM

    if this piece of land behind the south stand is going to be unused for a while what about putting some picnic tables and benches there

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  • PJL1967  |  May 15 2012, 10:27AM

    Jimmy_Blue, if you have any evidence to the contrary I'd like to see it. Philosoraptor, I'm pleased you've conceded that the benefits of the Swans being in the Premiership and the council receiving some rent are not mutually exclusive.

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  • Philosoraptor  |  May 15 2012, 9:53AM

    First of all, Jimmy Blue, there are articles from the last two days alone that talk about business being affected by the Swans being in a Premier League. There, you are done. Nice and easy. Also JPL, I never said that under any circumstances the Swans should not be charged more. I was saying that giving them a chance to continue financially would be beneficial in ways that rent could never match.

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  • Jimmy_Blue  |  May 15 2012, 6:30AM

    "But if you had researched the situation you would know the council have never received a penny in rent since the stadium was built" You are factually incorrect and your research sucks, but don't let that stop you.

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  • PJL1967  |  May 14 2012, 8:27PM

    Philosoraptor, I have no "personal agenda on this article". My original comment was merely pointing out one of the contributors here had completely misread the article and also to add clarity to a dismissive statement made by someone else regarding rent. Your agenda however is clearly against the idea of the council receiving any rent based on your assertion the Swans position in the Premiership is worth much more to this city as it brings more people to Swansea. Now whilst I agree that the home games will attract more people to our city, I am struggling with your fuzzy logic which seems to suggest charging anything more than a peppercorn rent will somehow effect the number of people that come here... The council have closed care homes for the elderly and special schools for disabled children in recent years because they couldn't afford to subsidise them. So how can the council possibly justify subsidising a football club who can afford to pay their way now that they are in the Premiership? Any City that prioritises it's football club over and above its care for the elderly and disabled is not a place I would be eager to visit!

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  • abertawejack  |  May 14 2012, 6:34PM

    There is one thing which Swansea City has going for it and that is it's citizens. I've talked to many people on our travels and they categorically state, how friendly we all are that is a credit which not many UK cities can contribute to. Well done gang be proud of yourselves it brings tourism and jobs here.

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  • richie2803  |  May 14 2012, 5:15PM

    Do Do Do Do Do..........I'm chaving it

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  • TaipeiSteve  |  May 14 2012, 4:22PM

    I fully agree with Philosoraptor and Hacker-Jack. Swansea has a lot of charm and character. As I have said previously stated on these comment streams, I have had the privilege to live in some of the most world's most outstanding cities, but I am always happy to return to Swansea. I not only enjoy the natural beauty of the area, but also appreciate the strong sense of community and the good earthy humour of the locals. By attracting punters to Swansea, the Liberty Stadium has already made a massive contribution to the city. Furthermore, the Swans' success has raised the profile of the area far more than any advertising campaign could ever have achieved, while the sporting and music events held at the stadium have brought a lot of happiness into people's lives. When considering the value of any kind of venue, we need to look beyond the amount of rent collected and instead view the benefits as part of a wider vision. If we merely think of benefits in terms of direct monetary gain, than London should close the British Museum and all our ancient forests should be chopped down and the wood sold to the higher bidder. Personally, I look forward to seeing a 35,000 seater stadium rise above the old Hafod copper works.

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  • Swanners11  |  May 14 2012, 4:17PM

    Great news. It should have been done in the first place but it's still a step in the right direction. I would be good if the Ospreys started playing at the Gnoll and St Helen's occasionally though as it would be tough for them to fill 35,000.

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  • Philosoraptor  |  May 14 2012, 3:31PM

    Lezz_T, I suggest you take a drive away from Swansea and see what else is on offer in the UK. London is a litter dump with glass cemented on top of brick walls, Manchester is rotting, Liverpool is boarded up. Instead of just seeing visitors, try talking to them for a change. You will be shocked at how high they rate the place we live. But then again, that would mean you have to say something positive on this site and that goes against your record so I suppose you will choose to continue just watching and accepting your own percieved reality. There is just one bad looking place in Swansea city centre, other cities centre's are filled with them. It is a shame the season is now over, I would have recommended you try going to the casino to watch the Swans when they are at home when playing against the likes of Manchester, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.... teams from the cities I mentioned above. They spoke very, very, very highly of Swansea. As did visitors from other cities, there have even been articles on this site where the Post spoke to opposition fans who chose to stay for the weekend and they said they planned to come back outside of the football season.

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