Fast-food village: Papa John’s gets go-ahead despite pleas from health experts

Site of the proposed Papa Johns takeaway, Shaftesbury Avenue, Simonside.
Site of the proposed Papa Johns takeaway, Shaftesbury Avenue, Simonside.
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Heath officials are cheesed off after planning chiefs gave the green light for a new pizza takeaway in South Tyneside.

National pizza chain Papa John’s was granted permission to open a new outlet in Towers Place, South Shields, at a South Tyneside Council planning committee meeting yesterday.

Coun Bill Brady

Coun Bill Brady

The eatery will be within the current car park of Burger King – which only opened in January – and just yards away from McDonald’s.

The council’s public health team objected to the plans over the borough’s obesity rates which show 70% of South Tyneside’s adults are classed as overweight or obese, while 24 per cent of Year 6 children are overweight and 21% are classed as obese.

However, the current planing laws mean health matters are unable to be taken into consideration and any comments are just ‘noted’.

But this could change in the future after a review of its legislation which the council says ‘would seek to limit the proliferation of hot food takeaways in the borough’.

If we pass this I want my objections noted.

Coun Bill Brady

In the report, the director of Public Health for South Tyneside, Amanda Healy stated: “We are of the opinion that there is sufficient existing provision and the area does not require any additional outlets of similar provision.

“South Tyneside is higher than the nation levels in terms of both obesity and fast food outlets.

“The location of the proposed outlet is in an area that already has two established global food business outlets, both of which offer a takeaway menu. One outlet is open 24 hours and with the other having their menu available from 10am to 11pm, this is a key concern as it increases the accessibility and opportunity for unhealthy food choices.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “The council does not currently have an adopted planning policy regarding obesity/public health although it remains a material planning consideration in the determination of planning applications.

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“The council is currently working on its Local Plan which, if adopted, would include policies in respect of obesity/public health and, in particular, would seek to limit the proliferation of hot food takeaways in the borough.

“Whilst any new policies would not mean that all similar establishments would be refused, significant consideration would be given for any future applications as a result of recent evidence focusing on hot food takeaways and the role of planning, environmental health and the council’s broader Public Health ambitions in helping to promote healthy environments.”

Traffic was also an issue raised at the meeting, which was held at Jarrow Town Hall.

Coun Bill Brady, who objected to the plans, said he felt that while bicycle parking provisions have been made, there was still a safety issues with regards to the number of cars which use the amenities.

The Whiteleas ward representative said: “Let’s face it I’ve never seen anyone go to McDonald’s on a bike in Simonside, and even if you were to take a bike, you have to negotiate a very dangerous road.

“There’s a lot of cars in that area, and even more so when the factories finish, I think this needs to be looked at.

“When you come out of Tesco you have to take a quick right and the cars are piled up there, with more coming in.

“If we pass this today I want my objections noted and I shall stop shopping at Tesco.”

Andrew Britsch, of Britsch Design, who drew the plans on behalf of his client MillCliffe Ltd, said: “I am very pleased the plans have gone through so quickly and efficiently. I’d like to thank South Tyneside Council for their cooperation.”