A NEW restaurant which won the right to open for 24 hours has been shutting at 11pm - because it can't get the staff.

The McDonald's restaurant and drive-through is the first business to open at the new Weymouth Gateway retail site off Mercery Road, which has promised to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

READ MOREGreen light for 24-hour service at new Weymouth Gateway McDonald's

Bournemouth Echo: The new McDonald's on opening day (May 18)The new McDonald's on opening day (May 18)

There was some concern from local residents about potential noise when the restaurant applied to open through the night.

As reported, a licensing panel from Dorset Council decided in early May any noise will be deadened by three large commercial businesses between the McDonald's restaurant and the distance between the premises and the nearest homes.

The licensing panel met after more than 20 residents claimed the opening hours for the Souter Way restaurant would likely lead to unnecessary noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.

McDonald's had asked for a new premises licence which will allow late-night indoor refreshment between 11pm and 5am.

However, since opening on May 18, the restaurant has been closing at 11pm due to a lack of applicants for vacancies and staff shortages at the site to cover the night and early morning roles.

A McDonald's spokeswoman said: "In line with the phased opening of businesses in Weymouth Gateway retail park, our new restaurant is currently open from 6am until 11pm each day with a view to operating 24/7 in the near future.

"We're continuing the recruitment process and look forward to hearing from people wishing to join our team."

Some original concerns about the 24-hour service included that it would attract more ‘boy racers’ who already cause a nuisance in the park and ride and Sainsbury's car park – especially once the park and ride has gates fitted to close it down at night.

In agreeing the licence, panel chairman Emma Parker said members were happy with the company’s response to litter and the general management of the site – including provision for a separate space for delivery drivers which would only be able to operate until midnight.

Peter Barrow, Dorset Council councillor for Radipole, said: "Every business I've spoken to recently said they're struggling to bring in staff.

"My gut reaction to this is it's the after effects of Covid. I feel Brexit is a cause of this. A lot of workers from mainland Europe, especially the eastern countries, have gone elsewhere.

"Also the cost of living is forcing people to look for better paid jobs."

Bournemouth Echo: Dorset Council councillor for Radipole Peter BarrowDorset Council councillor for Radipole Peter Barrow

Mr Barrow added: "We have had issues with 'boy racers' at the nearby park and ride, with car meet ups.

"The original concerns were raised, as we don't want that happening again."

The new McDonald's is part of the Weymouth Gateway scheme, which will see a new Costa coffee site open by August - while a further 'big box' building is set to open later in the year.

It has been confirmed the 'big box' site will see a new B&M and a Dunelm.