Third takeaway plan rejected in Hartlepool over obesity concerns

Council planning chiefs have rejected another takeaway plan for the area, citing their continued efforts to promote healthy eating in the town.

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 2:36 pm
Picture by Nic Marko
Picture by Nic Marko

Plans had been submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council planning department from Mr Hadi Azagh to convert 139A in Oxford Road in the town into a hot food takeaway.

The site was last used as a shop but is currently vacant.

In total 17 objections were raised to the plans, many of which raised concerns over the amount of takeaways in a small area and how it goes against the council trying to advocate healthy eating.

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Council planning officers moved to refuse the application for the takeaway, with concerns also raised from the council public health department over the impact it could have over obesity in the town.

It follows two other applications for takeaways submitted to the council last year, at Sydenham Road and the former Saxon pub site in Easington Road, which were both rejected over obesity concerns, and to promote healthy eating.

A report from council planning officer Stephanie Bell detailed why the latest plans for Oxford Road were refused.

She said: “It is considered that the proposed use would constitute an over-concentration of A5 units [hot food takeaways].

“It is considered that the proposed development would undermine efforts to promote healthy eating and contribute to an established link between higher than average obesity levels in the area and the sale of hot food.

“While acknowledging the proposals would have brought a vacant unit back into use, there is no evidence submitted with the application to suggest that a more appropriate use was not likely to come forward to justify the consideration of alternative uses.”

Coun Lee Cartwright and Coun Ann Marshall, who both represent the Foggy Furze ward where the site is located, also voiced concerns on the plans to the council ahead of the decision being made.

The most recent data from Public Health England highlights Hartlepool has 160.5 hot food take-away outlets per 100,000 population, which is significantly higher than the national average of 96.1.

The latest figures also show in Hartlepool 24.1% of reception age children are classified as having excess weight and 43.8% of Year 6 pupils are classified as having excess weight.

This compares to an England average of 22.6% of children having excess weight at reception age and 34.3% at year 6.

The percentage of adults classified as overweight or obese is also higher in Hartlepool (70.4%) than the England average (62.0%).