North Tyneside in top 30 for numbers of fast-food outlets

North Tyneside Council is among those taking steps to limit new hot-food takeaways via its Local Plan.
North Tyneside Council is among those taking steps to limit new hot-food takeaways via its Local Plan.

North Tyneside is among the top 30 councils nationwide for the highest number of fast-food outlets per 100,000 people.

Fast-food outlets now make up a smaller proportion of all eateries in the borough than they did at the start of the decade, but they still account for more than half.

Plus, the per 100,000 rate has risen from 55 in 2010 to 76 this year, which sees North Tyneside ranked 29th out of 215 councils for the highest number per 100,000 people.

Figures from the BBC Shared Data Unit show that in 2010, the borough had 110 fast-food outlets from a total of 190 eateries (58 per cent). Now, there are 155 fast-food outlets from a total of 300 (52 per cent).

However, North Tyneside is among one of a number of local authorities which are looking to use the planning system to limit the number of new hot-food takeaways, with reducing levels of obesity being a key objective of the council.

Obesity levels in the borough have more than trebled in the last 30 years and a quarter of four to five-year-olds, more than one-third of 10 to 11-year-olds and two-thirds of adults in North Tyneside are either overweight or obese.

The UK has one of the highest proportions of overweight and obese children in the European Union, with the rate of severe obesity among Year 6 children (aged 10 to 11) at a record-high, according to Public Health England.

This year, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set targets to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

Plans in England include banning the sale of energy drinks to children, stopping the sale of sweets and snacks at checkouts and possible calorie caps on popular foods like pizzas.

North Tyneside’s Local Plan 2017 to 2032 includes a specific policy dealing with hot-food takeaways, which means new outlets will not be permitted if it results in ‘clustering’ or two or more in a row in any one length of frontage.

They will also not be allowed within 400m of schools or in wards where there is more than 15 per cent of the Year 6 pupils or 10 per cent of Reception pupils classified as very overweight.

Coun Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community and wellbeing board, said: “We urgently need to take action to tackle child obesity and councils are playing their part, but need more planning powers to help tackle this epidemic, which has made the UK the most obese nation in western Europe.

“Councils appreciate that a flourishing hospitality sector in our towns and cities is good for local economies and where they have introduced restrictions on takeaways are working with businesses to help create healthier menus for their customers.

“Numerous councils have set curbs on new fast food outlets but current legislation means they lack planning powers to tackle the clustering of existing takeaways already open.

“New legislation is needed to empower councils to help drive forward an effective redesign of damaging food environments to help address health inequalities and tackle the obesity crisis, which requires a joined-up approach.”