England’s only McDonald’s-free county is no more, as a branch of the fast food chain opens its doors.
Rutland, in the East Midlands, had escaped the lure of the golden arches but plans to build a diner and drive-thru were approved in January.
The restaurant, based on the outskirts of Oakham, will move to a drive-thru only service on Thursday as the country goes into a second lockdown.
McDonald’s said the store will create more than 65 jobs in the community.
Before Rutland County Council approved the plan for the fast food chain, there was some resistance among residents.
Among the 55 objections made to the authority, one person wrote: “I’m proud Rutland is the only county not to have a McDonald’s”.
Several others expressed concerns about the impact a McDonalds’s would have on smaller, independent, businesses in Oakham.
But landlady of the Crown Tavern, Lindsay Taylor, said once lockdown had lifted, it “could bring people to Oakham and help shops on the high street”.
“At the end of the day people are worried about littering and that sort of stuff, but that’s not McDonald’s fault,” she said.
“People think we live in a posh area, as it’s Rutland, but there’s a split.”
Franchise owner Glyn Pashley, who operates the new restaurant, said he was “delighted to be opening in Oakham” and holding the mantle of “the first [McDonald’s] restaurant in Rutland”.
Oakham’s mayor David Romney will officially open the restaurant at a ribbon-cutting ceremony later.