Letter of the week: 'Limiting the number of South Shields takeways is the right thing to do'

I’m writing in response to Colin Campbell’s letter published in the Gazette recently about the refusal of planning permission for a hot food takeaway.

Empty premises in Frederick Street, South Shields, which will no longer become the area's latest takeaway.
Empty premises in Frederick Street, South Shields, which will no longer become the area's latest takeaway.

Perhaps he should spend more time understanding the subjects he is keen to give a view on rather than continue to make ill-informed claims.

It seems unwarranted and unnecessary to launch an individual and personal attack on me as the lead member for independence and wellbeing.

In relation to the issue of hot food takeaways I would like to make the following points.

As a council we are committed to giving all children the best start in life with a clear focus on addressing health inequalities.

We have a strategic approach to tackling the complex issue of childhood obesity, with many strands, including healthy eating in schools and raising awareness of healthy eating in children, parents and carers.

One of our other approaches is through addressing the proliferation of hot food takeaways in areas where the levels of childhood obesity for Year 6 are in excess of 10%.

South Tyneside has one of the highest levels of childhood obesity in the country, concentrated in those areas with higher levels of deprivation.

Creating the conditions that are conducive to good health is not about creating a ‘nanny state’, it is about creating an environment with health at the forefront, which supports our residents to make healthier choices. That is what I’m elected to do. South Tyneside Council and our partners have a 20-year vision that South Tyneside will be an outstanding place to live, invest and bring up families; with one of our top priority areas being ‘healthier people’.

Encouraging people to make positive decisions about things that impact on their health is an important part of helping people to live healthier and longer lives.

Over the past few years, Public Health, Planning and Environmental Health teams have worked together seeking to promote healthier living and tackle obesity by managing the proliferation of hot food takeaways.

This approach has helped to inform and shape our Supplementary Planning Document to limit new hot food takeaways in areas of the borough based on clear criteria. As a council we have one of the highest rates of hot food takeaways nationally.

Limiting further growth based on clear evidence is not attacking choice - it is the right thing to do for the children of our borough.

Coun Tracey Dixon,Lead Member Independence and Wellbeing,South Tyneside Council.