Council plan to block new takeaways in bid to fight obesity

An obese person.
An obese person.

Council bosses are aiming to put the block on new takeaways in a bid to combat obesity problems in South Tyneside.

Planning chiefs could get the powers to refuse permission for new outlets in any ward where levels of obesity for Year 6 pupils - 10 and 11 -year olds - is more than 10%.

Councillor Tracey Dixon.

Councillor Tracey Dixon.

Currently, that is every area in the borough.

The local authority has produced a supplementary planning document which, if adopted, will provide new planning guidance for dealing with applications for hot and fast food outlets.

The new rules are designed to support the Health and Wellbeing Board’s strategic aim of tackling unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.

They are also looking to refuse applications for premises within 400m of a secondary school.

This, health experts say, makes it easier for children to access unhealthy food options at lunch or home time.

South Tyneside Council has launched a consultation period on the plans which will run for six weeks October 27.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “Health is a key priority for the council; and reducing the number of overweight and obese residents is a key measure of the success of our strategy.

“Managing the prevalence of hot food takeaways is important in promoting healthier living and tackling obesity levels.

“The adoption of this guidance into a supplementary planning document will help in our fight against unhealthy lifestyles and health inequalities.”

Last year figures emerged that more than a third of children in South Tyneside are overweight by the time they leave primary school.

Data from the National Child Measurement Programme show that 16.3% of the borough’s youngsters are overweight while 23.1% are obese by the age of 11 – totalling 39.3%. In reception, where children are aged four, 14.2% were overweight in 2015, and 11.1% were obese, totalling 25.3%.

Dr Matthew Walmsley, GP and Chair of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Reducing obesity is one of the things that can help people in South Tyneside live longer, healthier lives, alongside cutting down on smoking and alcohol and making the best use of hospital services.”

For more information on the proposals and to give your views, visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/localplan.