Councillors to consider limiting new hot food takeaways

New policy could prevent takeaways near schools, parks or where 10 percent of children are obese.
A closed hot food take away. The business sign reads Hot Food Take Away. Metal shutters are closed. The outer wall of the business is clad in blue tiles.

Councillors will consider a crackdown on hot food takeaways in response to obesity in the city.

A new planning document going before Cabinet (on Monday June 17 2024) will seek to tighten restrictions on where new fast-food joints can open as obesity levels continue to rise.

Under the new proposals, planners will no longer be able to grant permission to takeaways that are:

  • within a 400m radius or 10-min walk of schools, parks, and community centres
  • in wards where more than 10% of Year 6 pupils are obese (currently every ward except Gosforth and South Jesmond)
  • in wards where the number of approved hot food takeaways would be equal to, or exceed, the UK national average per 1,000 population

If approved, the policy will limit permission for the number of hot food takeaways opening and be an example of closer cooperation between the planning system and Public Health in tackling unhealthy eating and obesity now gripping the nation.

Unhealthy eating, a poor diet and being overweight or obese has a significant impact on health leading to greater incidence of cancer, diabetes, and heart attack. It costs the NHS £6.5bn a year and is a significant public policy challenge for Government and local authorities.

The report says the new policy will begin a move towards widening food choice in more deprived parts of the city where unhealthy takeaways are more prevalent.

The move comes as obesity levels reach new highs in the city - and continue to rise - with:

  • two-thirds of adults in Newcastle overweight or obese
  • 29.1% of children in Newcastle overweight or obese, compared to an England overage of 22.7%
  • Newcastle the 74th most deprived authority out of 317, and an increasing body of research shows a link between obesity and deprivation

Director of Public Health for Newcastle, Alice Wiseman, said: “The environment we live in influences the food choices we make. Food served in hot food takeaways are generally higher in fat, salt and sugar and consequently they can have a detrimental impact on residents’ health and the quality of the local environment.

“The council wants to support and encourage people to improve their health and wellbeing through healthy eating and active lifestyles.

“In order to do this, multiple interventions are required including targeting the relationship between the food environment and the weight of the population.

“Planning has an important role in shaping healthy communities, and this is just one example of how it can help in the fight against obesity.”

If approved, the Healthier Food Environments Supplementary Planning Document, will replace the authority’s existing Hot Food Takeaway SPD.

As well as new-build it will also apply to applications for change of use covering hot food takeaways and mixed-use premises where takeaway food sales are not the main use and will take effect immediately.

For more information see the: