Fast food giants McDonald’s is accelerating plans to open its first restaurant in Aviemore – and it’s dividing local opinion.
The global chain has earmarked an empty site in the town’s retail park previously occupied by Superdrug.
A planning application has been lodged with Highland Council to erect the company’s famous golden arches sign at the Santa Claus Drive location.
The move confirmed previous reports and rumour that a restaurant and takeaway was on its way.
First McDonald’s in the area
McDonald’s has more than 1,450 restaurants across the UK and Ireland and employs more than 135,000 people.
But it will be its first venture into Strathspey, with the nearest restaurant more than 30 miles away in Inverness.
The plan is getting a mixed reaction on social media.
Some local people are welcoming the prospect of the outlet’s arrival, while others are not so keen.
Among the concerns is that it could add to traffic and litter problems at the retail park.
People also question whether the company can attract staff with many hospitality operators in the area struggling to hire or retain workers.
Al Dargie, chairman of Aviemore and Vicinity Community Council, said: “So far there has been a mixed response in the community to the potential that McDonald’s is looking to move into the retail park .
“We historically objected due to what we felt was an over provision in the area of restaurants and takeaways.
“We will look at each application and respond after considering it on its merits.”
The debate is growing on social media forums.
One online contributor said: “I think it’s a good idea. A lot of local places are overpriced and families with young children just can’t afford that.
“At least McDonald’s will put bins up, more than I can say for a lot of places.”
Another added: “Every local I’ve spoken to, from young ones to about 50 year old, is really excited about having a Maccy in Aviemore.
“The local café customer demographic is hardly the young locals anyway, is it?”
Pandering to tourists?
Another post said the news was “Something else for all the locals to moan about”, adding “But it’s nice for Aviemore, it’s growing.
“Probably could have put something nicer in, but (it) is what it is.”
Those against the idea have also had their say.
One poster said: “Here comes more parking and traffic chaos to the retail park.
“I don’t welcome it for a billion reasons. It’s not for locals anyway let’s face it, it’s just us pandering to tourists.”
And another said: “If you think Aviemore is bad for litter now, wait until this place opens.”
The news comes as plans for a £4 million McDonald’s in Ellon have been withdrawn, but the company says it will come up with new proposals.