TWO fast food giants have chucked their chips at council plans to keep takeaways away from schools and limit their high street presence.
McDonald’s and KFC both object to a Rotherham Borough Council draft policy which would keep them at least 800m from school and college gates.
The policy would also stop fast food joints opening in any town centre where takeaways would occupy ten percent of ground floor shops, or any smaller centre where they would make up 25 percent.
The authority says it “supports the vision and strategic objectives of the Rotherham Health and Wellbeing Strategy” by “promoting healthy lifestyles to tackle high obesity rates”.
It adds that the plan “seeks to address the proliferation of takeaways to help maintain the economic vitality and viability of town, district and local centres and promote healthy lifestyles”.
But the international beef and chicken barons have accused planners of acting irrationally.
SSA Planning, which represents KFC, issued a 12-page statement saying the proposal is “not based on any objectively assessed development requirement” and would “simply restrict choice” for diners and jobseekers.
It adds: “The [800m] distance chosen could have the effect of banning takeaways from a majority of the borough.
“No assessment has been made of the number of takeaways that might be refused as a result of this or what the social, economic or environmental impacts of that might be, so it is not possible to balance these impacts.”
Wayne Shurvinton, KFC’s UK chief operating officer, told planners he thought the proposal was not justified, effective or “consistent with national policy”.
No link between proximity of fast food to schools and childhood obesity has been proven, the firm argues.
An objection by Planware, on behalf of McDonald’s, also implied that council planners had not justified the move.
“As a responsible business, McDonald’s recognises it has a role to play to support its staff, customers and the communities in which it operates to live healthier lifestyles,” the firm said.
“For this reason, McDonald’s has invested significantly to evolve its menu over the last ten years — both to extend the range of choice and to reformulate our products.”
The Sites and Policies document was published last September, with public consultation lasting until November.
As part of Rotherham Council’s Local Plan, it sets out guidelines for planning and development up to 2028.
Its preface says: “We want Rotherham to become a more successful and sustainable place in which to live, work and visit.
“The challenge is to ensure that future development takes place in the most sustainable locations, meeting future needs whilst protecting and enhancing the local environment.”
The document is available to view online at tinyurl.com/rmbcsapd.
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