A planning application for a takeaway in South Shields has been refused in a ward where almost half of pupils aged 10 and 11 are classed as overweight.
Proposals for a fast food outlet in 13-15 Frederick Street, South Shields, have been rejected, with local obesity levels helping to steer the decision.
The decisions were made following the introduction of new planning guidance which aims to manage the proliferation of hot food takeaways in the borough.
The proposal related to a change of use application for a vacant shop on Frederick Street, in the Simonside and Rekendyke ward - where almost 46.2% of pupils aged 10 and 11 are classed as overweight or very overweight.
The Supplementary Planning Document – SPD 22 – specifies that planning permission will not be granted for hot food takeaways in wards where the level of obesity in year 6 pupils is over 10%.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for Independence and Wellbeing, said: “A very significant proportion of children living in this ward are classed as having excess weight so I am pleased that we were able to use this guidance in determining this planning application.
“We take our health responsibilites very seriously and reducing the number of overweight and obese residents is one of our key priorities.
“Limiting the number of takeaways in the area is one of the ways we can promote healthier lifestyles, particularly among our children. This is the third time we have used the SPD22 in a planning decision.
“It is much harder for people to make healthy eating choices if there is a proliferation of takeaways in their neighbourhoods.
The number of takeaways in South Tyneside has increased by 18% since 2014. There are currently 139 ‘A5 use’ units – which includes pizza shops, fish and chip shops, kebab shops and Chinese and Indian takeaways - in the borough.
Coun Dixon added: “Both the levels of childhood obesity and the number of hot food takeaways in the borough are higher than national averages.
“We’re committed to tackling these issues head-on and will continue to use all tools at our disposal to fight the rising epidemic of childhood obesity.”