Shipping container takeaways plan next to The Dunes turned down for South Shields seafront over obesity concerns

Proposals for hot food takeaway units outside a seafront entertainment complex have been refused over health and obesity fears.
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Back in June 2021, South Tyneside Council’s planning department registered an application for The Dunes entertainment complex off Sea Road in South Shields.

This included the erection of two converted shipping containers and an extension to create “three independent takeaway units and [a] storage area attached to the existing building.”

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The proposals aimed to replace an existing outdoor area and bin store and the development would have been classed as a hot food takeaway use.

Proposed site for hot food takeaway units outside Dunes Amusements, South Shields.Proposed site for hot food takeaway units outside Dunes Amusements, South Shields.
Proposed site for hot food takeaway units outside Dunes Amusements, South Shields.

The application form added there would be nine full-time employees and the opening hours would be 10am-9pm every day.

After considering the application, South Tyneside Council’s planning department refused it on Thursday, February 10, 2022.

This followed an official objection from the council’s public health department on health grounds, with particular regard to the “impact of fast food on children and younger people.”

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The public health consultation comment added there was “sufficient food provision” in the area, including at Ocean Road nearby, and that there was no “necessity nor demand for additional provision.”

In a decision report, council planners said the proposals clashed with policies around promoting healthy lifestyles and tackling obesity in the borough.

The planning decision report reads: “Central government planning policy encourages healthy lifestyles, including through the provision of access to healthier food.

“The council’s Local Development Framework Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) 22: ‘Hot Food Takeaways and Health’ recognises that, in general, fast food is often a popular choice with children and younger people and can be considered a contributing factor to the increasing levels of obesity due to it consisting mostly of energy dense food which is high in saturated fats and salt, and low in nutrient levels.

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“The proposal is situated within the Beacon and Bents ward of the borough of South Tyneside where childhood obesity levels for year 6 pupils exceeds 10%.

“The most up to date data from the National Child Measurement Programme shows that 31.2% of year 6 children from this ward are very overweight/obese.

“As such, the proposed hot food takeaway would be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and associated National Planning Practice Guidance with regard to health and well-being.

“It would also fail to accord with the guidance contained within the council’s Local Development Framework SPD 22: ‘Hot Food Takeaways and Health’ which supports the council’s strategic aims in tackling unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.”

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In the decision report, planners added they could not confirm the type of food and/or drink which could be purchased from the premises, as no information had been provided about the future occupiers of the units.

The applicant has the right to challenge the council’s refusal decision by lodging an appeal with the Secretary of State.

For more information on the plans and council decision, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal and search reference: ST/0413/21/FUL

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