New restrictions prevent takeaways from opening near Wakefield schools

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Restrictions are being placed on the number of takeaways and fast food outlets based near schools in Wakefield.

The district council has imposed a cap on the likes of chip shops and burger branches being able to open where schoolchildren are likely to pass on their way home.

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Although the local authority cannot close down any outlets, they are now stopping new takeaways from opening within 400 metres of a school.

The restriction does not necessarily apply to the city centre however, where applications will be judged “on merit”. A similar exemption has been given to villages in the district.

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The ban was mentioned at a council scrutiny meeting on Monday (June 25), where the future of the city’s retail offer was being discussed.

Neil Rodgers, the council’s head of economic growth, said the authority was “looking at takeaways and limiting the proximity of those next to schools”.

It is hoped the move will tackle the issue of childhood obesity and remove the temptation of junk food for pupils walking and cycling to and from school.

Councils elsewhere have adopted the initiative, following advice from Public Health England.

Wakefield’s Retail and Town Centre Local Plan, which was published last year, says that there must be “an acceptable distance” between schools and fast food places.

It says: “Proposals for hot food takeaways located within 400 metres of schools and outside centres will not be supported.

“Schoolchildren in the district are consuming too many takeaway meals.

“Children of all ages who eat more than two takeaways a week are also less likely to eat fruit and vegetables frequently and more likely to drink

fizzy beverages, crisps and sweets.

“55 per cent of primary school pupils and 40 per cent of secondary school pupils walk or cycle to school in the district.

“On these journeys there is the temptation to purchase this type of food on the way to/from school and at lunch times.

“There may be a case for hot food takeaways in villages, which are likely to be some distance from other settlements/facilities.

“Consideration should be given to the proximity to local schools and other village facilities. Locations near to village shops/services will be preferable.”