The golden arches are set to rise over Cambridge.
A new McDonald's restaurant has been given the go-ahead and will be built on Queen St, a road at present catering for thousands of vehicles a day as State Highway 1 but soon to be bypassed by the Waikato Expressway.
Keyte Automotive, which occupies the site, will move a few metres sideways to new and bigger premises. Owner-operator Matt Keyte said he expected work to start soon on the new site, at the top of the State Highway 1 rise, and hoped to be in by late September.
"Contrary to what has been rumoured, we're not closing down. It will be work as usual, just next door," he said.
McDonald's head of communications, Simon Kenny, said the organisation had been looking for a site in Cambridge for a long time, one that suited the community and passing traffic. The site, comprising two lots totalling about 2500sqm, was purchased in November 2013.
This will be the 164th McDonald's restaurant in New Zealand, and the development suggested confidence in Cambridge's continued growth. The 2013 census put the town's population at 17,238, up 15.6 per cent from 2006.
The new McDonald's is planned as a 24 / 7 operation, complete with the standard drive-through option. It is expected to bring 50 to 60 more jobs to town, and incorporate a family-styled play-land and a party room. It is set to open in December.
Cambridge Chamber of Commerce chief executive Raewyn Jones acknowledged that the arrival of McDonald's in Cambridge would contribute to the community in terms of bringing additional jobs and providing good training opportunities.
"There is always the concern about this being a special heritage town," she said, adding that the restaurant's chosen site was probably an option that would least affect Cambridge's special character.