Impassioned pleas by local councillors failed to stop controversial plans for a new McDonald’s in Rhyl after they were approved by the slimmest of margins.

Denbighshire Council’s planning committee voted 8-7 in favour of the plans to build a new McDonald’s restaurant on the site of the former Crown Bard pub on Ffordd Derwen in the town.

It will bring 65 full-time equivalent jobs and breathes new life into a site left vacant for more than four years.

The proposals were not universally welcomed, despite officers recommending approval of the scheme.

There have been flooding concerns, with the site being in a C1 flood zone, worries about increased traffic problems on the A525 and tributary roads, litter, the effects on obesity and the fate of mature trees and wildlife.

Rhyl Town council objected because of the effects the drive-through would have on traffic at the roundabout which services Ffordd Derwen, Bryn Cwnin Road and Rhuddlan Road – already a pinch-point at peak times.

It also had concerns about biodiversity and flooding on the application site.

Even local MP James Davies stepped into the row, saying Rhyl didn’t need another fast food restaurant.

The council’s ecology officer and Natural Resources Wales both supported the scheme after McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd proposed mitigating measures for flooding and biodiversity.

Cllr Jeanette Chamberlain-Jones (Rhyl South ward) made reference to the tree officer’s the report which said they weren’t in “good condition”.

She said: “I’m not in good condition but I’m breathing, just like these mature trees.”

The authority’s highways officer Mike Parker, said the approach to the roundabout would be “improved” and officers “didn’t identify any considerable problems” with the application.

Cllr Ellie Chard (Rhyl South ward) warned: “There will be accidents and it’s going to be bad.”

She added she would have to “take a chance” crossing the roads because of the extra traffic.

Cllr Chamberlain-Jones agreed, saying she could “guarantee” there would be accidents because of increased traffic around the site – adding traffic build-up was “a very big concern”.

Cllr Brian Blakeley (Rhyl South East ward) pointed to the congestion problems which had arisen along nearby Pen y Maes Avenue, as a result of the housing scheme at Parc Aberkinsey, which had caused gridlock.

He said: “There’s a major traffic problem (in the area). If this McDonald’s is allowed to go ahead, especially with the drive-through, there will be major gridlock."

He added: “It’s no good saying to me it’s not going to cause a problem – there’s a problem already.

“It’s going to affect us no end and it’s going to put extra pressure on the south-east of Rhyl.”

Cllr Chamberlain-Jones said the council was “dedicated to promoting health in our schools” and questioned whether it should be “promoting a fast food chain”.

She also remarked it cost the authority “thousands of pounds” to clear litter from Rhyl High Street and “this will generate just as much”.

Phil Isherwood, representing McDonald’s at the committee, said staff would be doing regular litter picks up to 150m from the restaurant.

Despite the objections committee members voted narrowly to approve the plans but only after Cllr Bob Murray had been forced to leave the meeting because of another appointment.

After the vote and a short recess Cllr Chard also questioned whether Cllr Julian Thompson-Hill, who had voted in favour of the proposal, should have been allowed to vote, accusing him of not being present during the whole debate.

Cllr Thompson-Hill strenuously denied the charge, claiming he’d been there for the full discussion but had left his camera off for some of it.