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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Lynette Pinchess

Mixed feelings over closure of Nottingham McDonald's in 'horrible' part of the city

McDonald's fans popped in for one final burger and fries from the fast food restaurant in Nottingham's Exchange Walk ahead of it closing its doors for good on Friday, June 30. It was revealed in April that the restaurant would be shutting after 34 years on the corner of the cut-through between St Peter's Gate and Old Market Square.

The loss adds to the long list of closures around Lister Gate, Low Pavement, Albert Street, and Wheeler Gate since the demise of Broadmarsh shopping centre and the pandemic. High street chains such as Paperchase, Clarks shoe shop, Pret a Manger, Boots and River Island have all closed down.

Exchange Walk's McDonald's used to operate 24 hours a day but opening hours were scaled back earlier this year, closing overnight. Most customers didn't seem fussed by the closure and said they'd get their junk food fix from the other sites in the city centre, at either Victoria Centre, Clumber Street or Angel Row.

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As she left with a burger in hand, civil servant Martha Helliwell said: "It's weird but it's not really affecting my life. It's surprising it's closing. It's a horrible bit of the town anyway."

Student Courtney Hopkinson, 23, said: "I don't use it that often. I've only used it because I'm coming down this way. It's sad for the area but I leave Nottingham in two days."

Stefan Yearl, who works at the Vape Bar in Exchange Walk, said the closure won't help that side of the city. He said: "I think it will affect the footfall that passes through Exchange Walk as there's not really anything for people to go down that end of town for. I don't understand why it's closing."

Crew member Elliott Scott, 20, pictured outside McDonalds in Exchange Walk, Nottingham city centre. (Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

McDonald's crew Member Elliott Scott, 20, said the staff were being relocated. "We got to choose where we go. There's about 20 of us going to Clumber Street.

"I've worked here for around a year. It's been my first job and it was my mum's first job. I used to be on overnights, I did them for five months. Friday and Saturdays were really busy but other than that is was dead.

"We've had a couple of people come in and say it's sad. It's been open a long time. I think another restaurant will take over, it's all laid out for a kitchen, it makes sense."

Any remaining stock and some of the smaller pieces of equipment will be taken to the other sites. The restaurant is part of a franchise, Blades Restaurants, run by Jerry Nicholls. The company was founded in 2008 with the purchase of one restaurant and grew to 11 including the three other city centre sites, Clifton, Nuthall Road, West Bridgford, Castle Marina and Clifton.

McDonald's in Exchange Walk, Nottingham (Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

Mr Nicholls said: "The lease for the building is expiring and we have decided not to renew it as we have three other restaurants in the city centre."

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “The continued uncertainty surrounding the Broad Marsh area has had a severe knock-on impact across Nottingham city centre. With many empty shops in the streets immediately adjacent to the former shopping centre site, it’s clear there is low confidence among national chains that are compounded by profound structural challenges for the retail industry.

“While it is clearly vital that plans to regenerate the Broad Marsh area make significant progress in the coming months, it is equally important that we realise the most successful city centres have evolved into places for a combination of living, working and leisure – and therefore we need to see new thinking adopted for how we revitalise these areas for future generations.”

The last time McDonald's closed a restaurant in Nottinghamshire was in Beeston. A burger joint opened in High Road in 1987 but closed within 20 years because it simply wasn't busy enough. The site is now a cafe bar, Bendigo's Lounge.

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