PR firm drafted in to help drum up doorstep support for a new McDonald’s in Sheffield

The disused South Yorkshire Police training centre where McDonald's hope to knock it down and build a restaurant.
The disused South Yorkshire Police training centre where McDonald's hope to knock it down and build a restaurant.
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Fast food giant McDonald’s has drafted in a powerful PR firm in an effort to drum up support for a controversial new restaurant in Sheffield.

The city council is set to consider proposals for a new 24-hour takeaway on the junction with The Common and Green Lane, Ecclesfield, which the food company says will create 75 jobs.

However, campaigners have raised concerns about traffic on roads around the site, as well as the potential for extra noise and litter.

The plans have attracted fierce opposition. There have been 97 objections, and just two expressions of support for the application.

Now McDonald’s have brought in public relations firm Portland Communications to knock on doors in neighbouring areas Parson Cross and Southey. Ninety letters of support were handed back to people canvassing in the two suburbs, whereas only a handful of those living in Ecclesfield supported the proposal during the PR firm’s drive.

Campaigner Jo Hutchinson, who lives near to the site earmarked for the eatery, described the door-knocking as ‘underhand’.

“It’s dirty tricks from McDonald’s,” she said. “It’s laughable how they can claim people who live on Southey are local. It’s not going to have a negative effect on them.”

A McDonald’s spokesman said: “As with any business looking to move to a new area, we work with the local community to canvass for support. Alongside McDonald’s employees, Portland Communications has worked with us to speak to local residents and to showcase the support for the store.”