The brakes have been put on late-night delivery drivers at a busy fast food restaurant after a catalogue of complaints from neighbours who said the noise and intimidation has made life difficult for them.
One mother said of disturbances outside the McDonald’s on Seven Sisters Road: “Living here is really miserable, it’s intimidating.”
The McDonald’s was told it could no longer do deliveries between 11pm and 5am after a licence review.
Islington’s community safety officer Sarah Armstrong said: “Since McDonald’s started offering their delivery service in about 2017, we’ve been receiving complaints relating to the nuisance caused by delivery drivers whilst they’re waiting to be allocated orders and to collect food.
“These range from noise nuisance to littering, urinating, defecating, some dangerous driving, violent and intimidating behaviour from the drivers and we’ve also received quite a lot of complaints about McDonald’s deliveries at unsocial hours.”
She told the council’s licensing sub-committee the last complaint was about a 1.30am delivery and that since January 30 per cent of the complaints were about deliveries after 11pm.
“The delivery option is pretty much 24/7 from McDonald’s, it is absolutely relentless for residents,” she added.
She said there were previous attempts to stop the problems, including zones where drivers are banned, workshops with the delivery companies, and meetings with drivers.
The council has also worked with the current franchisee, who took over in late 2019.
Armstrong explained: “We’ve had our parking enforcement team down there who’ve found it difficult, especially because of the very aggressive nature of the delivery drivers, meaning they had to ultimately resort to doing joint patrols with the police when police availability allowed.”
A traffic management order at nearby Bowman’s Mews and Hercules Place will also restrict loading and waiting times from 6pm to 8am.
Finsbury ward councillor Gary Heather said the problems were “detrimental to the residents”.
He said he doubted that the introduction of quieter electric vehicles would resolve the problem, that there is a lack of parking, and that McDonald’s does not directly employ the delivery drivers, meaning it cannot control them.
Bart Iannello described problems including speeding mopeds and drivers parking “all over the road”.
He said: “With children it’s quite a risky and dangerous area. You have to have your eyes peeled.”
He said there was “constant loitering” and it was “very intimidating”, with drivers hanging around in groups. Because they were helmets they can’t hear each other and raise their voices, he added.
“They’re urinating, defecating – all this is happening on our doorstep,” he said.
Another resident, Susanna, said: “I feel scared. They’ve sworn at me with my toddler.
“When someone is screaming at you because you’ve asked them to move on to the footpath because the McDonald’s delivery is there, and because you literally can’t get into your street, there are no words to describe it.
“There’s so much noise late at night so when it’s hot I have to have to make the decision whether to leave the window open for sleeping or have cars idling underneath the window and have my children being woken up.”
She said things are sometimes so bad that “there are times I’ve walked the long way home”.
Gary Grant, the legal representative for the branch, said: “We agree that residents have been disturbed for a long time.”
Franchisee Claude Abi-Gerges took over not long before the first lockdown.
Grant said there was “an extraordinary explosion” of demand for home deliveries, which have soared by 164 per cent.
Abi-Gerges brought in former Met Police borough commander Andrew Bamber, who drew up an action plan to cut the problems.
Bamber said he noticed “a considerable number of motor scooters but none connected with McDonald’s”.
He told the licensing hearing he understood residents’ frustration, as drivers were weaving in and out and using their horns.
He said the street supervisor hired by the store was very proactive and patrolled outside, pointing out a traffic camera and how drivers could get fined.
“I have every confidence, if they continue to manage it how they did on that night, that the residents will have nothing to worry about,” he added.
Abi-Gerges said any drivers who breach the rules or are involved in anti-social behaviour get reported to their bosses and “permanently impaired” so they cannot deliver from his store again.
He said there is a log to record any issues and a security guard, and drivers are always told where they cannot park.
He also pointed out that since lockdown ended, drivers can wait in the restaurant and use the facilities there.
The licensing committee (12 August) banned the collection of food orders by delivery drivers between 11pm and 5am.
It also said there should be two door supervisors on Friday and Saturday nights and one on Sunday to Thursday nights from 11pm to 5am or 30 minutes after the last walk-in if earlier.