Popeyes drive-thru coming to doorstep of South Shields and Sunderland: Popular American chicken restaurant to set open new Boldon branch next to Cineworld and Nando's

A new Popeyes drive-thru restaurant is set to land on our doorsteps under proposals submitted to borough planning chiefs.

The popular American chicken restaurant chain made its debut in the UK last year and recently opened its first North East branch in the Metrocentre in Gateshead.

As part of its expansion plans, an application has been submitted to South Tyneside Council’s planning department to redevelop a parcel of land at Boldon Leisure Park.

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If approved by council planning bosses, Popeyes would operate from a new building directly adjacent to Cineworld.

Nando's at the MetroCentre.

The siting of the drive-thru would reflect existing planning permission for a restaurant at the same location, which was never brought forward.

New plans aim to transform an area of “underutilised hardstanding” at the south west corner of the existing Cineworld within the wider leisure complex.

Floor plans confirm the Popeyes restaurant would have an outdoor seating area, an indoor customer area for around 68 covers and customer toilets.

In addition, a new vehicle access would be created to serve the restaurant with a one-way system on site directing traffic out onto the roundabout near the Asda Boldon petrol station.

A planning design and access statement submitted on behalf of applicant LS Leisure Parks Investments Limited provides more details on the development.

This includes the use of “composite cladding panels, blockwork and red brickwork” in the building’s design to “provide symmetry” with the existing Nandos restaurant unit nearby.

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Applicants also claim the new proposal would provide ”significant social and economic benefits” with jobs created directly by the restaurant and during construction.

The supporting statement adds: “The development would result in the creation of new jobs which would be available across a range of positions and would deliver a significant economic benefit to the area.

“Further employment opportunities will also be generated during the construction phase and where appropriate, local labour would be given the opportunity to be involved.

“As confirmed earlier in this statement, the drive thru would be operated by Popeyes, an American multinational chain who have recently expanded into the UK market and have ambitions for further growth, including in the north east of England.

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“The proposal will support the growth of the business in the UK market.”

In recent years, Boldon Leisure Park has welcomed a number of new businesses including Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons and the ‘Gourmet 4’ food hall.

Plans are also pending for a new drive-thru restaurant on a section of the Asda car park adjacent to the leisure park.

However, it comes as a question mark hangs over the major occupier of the leisure park.

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Cineworld reassured customers and staff it remained open for business earlier in August after reports it was weeks away from filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the USA.

It comes as the cinema industry continues to struggle in its recovery from the pandemic and Covid-19 measures amid a backdrop of streaming services tempting viewers.

A decision on the Popeyes drive-thru restaurant plan will be made once a period of council consultation has concluded.

For more information on the planning application or to track its progress, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal and search reference: ST/0574/22/FUL