New limits on takeaways in Cleckheaton as town named an obesity hotspot
Council chiefs in Kirklees want to limit the number of hot food takeaways opening in future as a way of stopping youngsters and adults from getting fatter.
The new planning directive comes as statistics show a quarter of reception age children and a third of Year six youngsters in the borough are overweight or obese.
In the case of adults that number jumps to more than half.
Kirklees Council says reducing the number of new food outlets by cutting “clustering” on our streets will deny people the opportunity to over-indulge on burgers, fried chicken, pizzas, kebabs, and fish and chips - and in doing so cut obesity rates.
Regulating the number and location of hot food takeaways – which includes multi-nationals, chains and drive-throughs – is one way of doing that.
The council has highlighted certain areas – including Ashbrow in Huddersfield and Cleckheaton – as obesity and deprivation hotspots.
It says any new hot food takeaways would be rejected in those areas.
However areas within Almondbury in Huddersfield and in the Holme Valley have relatively low levels of obesity and deprivation.
New hot food takeaways would be accepted in those areas.
Senior councillor Mus Khan said one of the benefits of the plan was that it might influence the hot food industry to provide healthier food with nutritionally balanced menus.
She said outlets might be offered “masterclasses” to make improvements to their healthy choice offer.
She added: “We can’t stop people from feeding their children unhealthy food but what we can do is try and influence the hot food market and bring awareness to the issue.
“This policy does that.”
The council’s head of planning, Mathias Franklin, said the authority “can’t undo” what is already on the district’s high streets but that it could plan for the future.
He said the council wanted to avoid creating an “over concentration” of takeaways with no more than three in a row on any street.
Those restrictions will not apply in town centres – and Kirklees Council says it has opted for a “proportionate” approach rather than a blanket ban.
The council is working to a public health “toolkit” that lays out principles for the acceptability of takeaways.
They include the percentage of adults who are overweight and obese, the percentage of five-year-olds and 11-year-olds with excess weight, and the prevalence of diabetes and coronary heart disease.
All those indicators come with a points value. Areas with 20 points or more will be identified as having “significantly above average” combined levels of obesity and deprivation.
Public Health England recommends that local authorities such as Kirklees Council use planning polices to ensure that new development avoids the over-concentration of hot food takeaways in existing town centres or high streets and restricts their proximity to schools or other facilities for children and young people and families.
Planning principles include noise, odours, waste, community safety and road safety.
Tackling the issue in Kirklees means creating a 400m “exclusion zone” around primary schools and ensuring nearby hot food takeaways are closed between 3pm and 5pm.
It is envisaged that takeaways near secondary schools will not open before 5pm on weekdays.
Coun Harpreet Uppal, chair of the council’s economy and neighbourhoods scrutiny panel, which discussed the plan, asked if the authority was “being too cautious”.
Mr Franklin said: “Life’s a balance and planning is a manifestation of that.
“We have to start somewhere. This is to gauge people’s opinion on the implementation of our balance between the economic considerations of our towns and our small businesses versus tackling health [inequalities].”
The council will hope that its directive – known as a supplementary planning document (SPD) – will find favour.
The SPD will go out for consultation for six weeks from November 9. It will go to the council’s decision-making cabinet for adoption in the middle of next year.
Who will be affected by the new rules?
Fish and chip shops
Fried chicken/Southern fried chicken shops
Who won’t be affected?
Restaurants, snack bars and cafés
Sandwich shops and delis
Pubs and wine bars
Ice cream parlours