Takeaways near Rotherham schools escape ban

COUNCIL bosses have found a planning’s tsar’s decision to bin a plans to bar takeaways near schools hard to swallow.
Rotherham Borough Council leader Chris ReadRotherham Borough Council leader Chris Read
Rotherham Borough Council leader Chris Read

Rotherham Borough Council’s draft policy SP25 aimed to block fast food outlets from opening within half a mile of schools and colleges.

The pro-healthy eating move would also have stopped takeaways occupying more than ten per cent of high street shops, or any smaller centre where takeaways made up a quarter of units already.

But after objections from McDonald’s and KFC, national planning inspector Christopher Anstey scrapped the distance restriction, saying it was not justified and is not consistent with national policy”. 

Council leader Cllr Chris Read called the decision “frustrating”, while regeneration chief Damien Wilson said it was “unfortunate”.

The policy’s aim was “promoting healthy lifestyles to tackle high obesity rates” and addressing “the proliferation of takeaways to help maintain the economic vitality and viability of town”.

But KFC sent a 12-page statement from the fried chicken chain saying the plan was unjustifiable and would “simply restrict choice” for diners and jobseekers.

McDonald’s said it was already encouraging diners to choose wisely and had changed its menu to make it healthier.

Damien Wilson, the council’s director of regeneration and environment, said that the plan to restrict takeaways had been “an admirable attempt in improving public health and issues around schools”.

Cllr Read said: “The policy around takeaways close to schools was originally a scrutiny recommendation and so it would have been particularly nice to take it forward.

“It’s frustrating when we know that similar restrictions have been put in place in other places.”

Proposal SP25 formed part of the Sites and Policies document, published in September 2015, which set out planning and development guidelines up to 2028.

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