A development plan policy adopted by a local authority on Tyneside which sought to limit the number of takeaway food outlets in areas where a percentage of the children were overweight was supported by an inspector who concluded that allowing a further outlet would be inconsistent with the council’s aim of reducing obesity.

In support of its opposition to the appeal the council produced information which demonstrated that over 16 per cent of reception year pupils were classified as being very overweight and over 27 per cent of year 6 pupils were similarly classified.  These figures exceeded the percentages set out in its development plan.  In response, the appellant claimed that the policy was tantamount to a blanket ban and in any event under permitted development rights the shop could be changed to a café or restaurant which could also serve hot food to take away.

In favouring the council’s position, the inspector decided that a takeaway was materially different from a café or restaurant, noting that the uses were in different use classes.  There were three other takeaways in the area and such outlets typically sold food high in trans-fat, saturated fat and salt which were also significant contributors in obesity.  Adding another outlet would increase choice and could have the effect of reducing the cost of purchasing takeaway food which would also be directly contrary to the council’s policy.  The benefits of bringing the premises back into viable use did not outweigh the policy conflict and the inability of the council to support healthier eating in school children and improving their health.

Inspector: John Dowsett; Written representations

Source: Planning Resource, 7 February 2018

Local Comment:  Wirral was recently named and shamed as the fattest place in England.  Would you support a neighbourhood plan policy restricting any further takeaways from opening in Borough Road, Church Road and Derby Road?  If you would (or if you wouldn’t), don’t forget to say so in our planned public consultations during March 2018 – Philip Barton