KFC hits back against plans to limit the number of takeaways
Fast food chain KFC has hit back at plans to limit the number of takeaways in towns and villages across County Durham.
Council chiefs working on an overhaul of planning rules for the county want to restrict the number of chippies and kebab shops within town centres to just five per cent of the total number of business premises.
And they also want to ban new takeaways completely within 400 metres of schools and colleges in a bid to curb rising levels of obesity among children and young people.
But the fried chicken seller has criticised the policy, which it says is based on flawed evidence and is inconsistent in how it defines different types of businesses.
“We don’t want an over concentration of A5 [hot food takeaway] uses,” said James Cook, Durham County Council’s senior spatial policy officer.
“We recognise they have a role to play within our town centres, but we feel more than five per cent is not something we would like to see.”
He added the five per cent figure was based on ‘the average number of hot food takeaways’ across the county’s town and village centres.
Mr Cook was speaking at an ongoing public inquiry into the County Durham Plan, which, if approved, will set development policies in the county until 2035.
A 2018 survey for the county council showed hot food takeaways under the A5 classification accounted for 4.6 per cent of businesses within County Durham’s town and village centres, on average.
Shildon had the highest concentration, at 9.3 per cent, while Peterlee had the lowest, at just 1.6 per cent.
Steve Simms, of SSA Planning, who represented KFC at the inquiry, which is being led by a government-appointed planning inspector, said the policy’s wording needed to be clarified.
He said initial planning applications to local authorities are often made without a reference to a specific use classification due to a lack of consistency across councils.
And even the use of a site could be considered to change ‘week on week’ depending on the number of customers using a restaurant as a ‘drive-thru’ or a ‘drive-to’.
He added: “If we accept we’re going to have a policy focussed on A5, it would be useful to know that’s how it’s going to be applied.”