Council chiefs to ban new takeaways near South Tyneside schools to tackle pupil obesity

Councillors have backed a plan that would ban new takeaways near schools and in parts of South Tyneside where obesity in youngsters is a problem.

Councillors are being asked to back a ban on new takeaways near schools to tackle child obesity
Councillors are being asked to back a ban on new takeaways near schools to tackle child obesity

The Cabinet approved the adoption of new planning guidance aimed at restricting the number of takeaways in the borough in the future when it met at South Shields Town Hall today.

The local authority has produced a ‘supplementary planning document’ which would help steer decision making around planning applications for hot and fast food outlets – known as ‘A5 Use’ premises.

Figures show there are currently 139 ‘A5’use units – which include pizza shops, fish and chip shops, kebab shops and Chinese and Indian takeaways – in South Tyneside and these are more likely to be found in areas of the borough suffering with more deprivation.

In South Tyneside, 71.3% of adults are identified as having excess weight - a figure which is higher than the national average.

The proposals include:

* Seeking to refuse planning permission for takeaways in wards where the levels of obesity for Year 6 pupils is more than 10 per cent – currently the case in all wards.

* Seeking to refuse applications for premises within 400 metres of a secondary school which could make it easier for children to access unhealthy food options at lunch or home time.

Coun Tracey Dixon, Lead Member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: "The number of takeaways in South Tyneside has increased by 18 per cent since 2014.

"This trend is contributing to creating an environment where unhealthy food options are widely available and is at odds with our fight against obesity and health inequalities.

"Health is one of our key priorities and managing the prevalence of fast food outlets is an important factor in promoting healthier living and reducing the number of overweight or obese residents.

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