Scarborough Council’s war on obesity could be over before a single shot has been fired.
In a bid to make the borough healthier, and also to cut down what it claims are the cause of anti-social and litter, the council voted in March to bring in a policy making it harder for new late-night takeaways to get planning permission and licences to open late.
However, its planning officers have disagreed and in a new report they say there is no evidence to support the need for new measures to combat the borough’s growing waistline.
The report, by planning manager David Walker, states: “It has been shown that the obesity levels in children in the borough is lower than the national average.
“There are already restrictions on pupils leaving school grounds and therefore an exclusion zone around schools is considered to be unnecessary.”
Figures released last year showed that in 2012, 24.1 per cent of adults in Scarborough were classified as obese, with the life expectancy for men and women in the town below the national average.
Close to 18% of Year Six (10-11 year olds) are classed as obese in the borough with 8% of reception aged children also classed to be in the same category.
March’s motion was brought by Labour leader and deputy leaders Cllr Steve Siddons and Cllr Tony Randerson at the authority’s full council meeting that
It stated: “Many residents feel that there are an excessive number of takeaways within the borough and that, subject to legislation, Scarborough Borough Council should look to minimise any new applications for such use.
“The proliferation of takeaways over the last few years has contributed to an increase in anti-social behaviour, litter, impact on the environment through disposal of plastic cartons and to the expansion and subsequent impact caused by the nuisance of gulls.”
Cllr Steve Siddons said: “It is disappointing that planning regulations do not seem able to assist the council’s desire to see less takeaways in the borough, but I accept the findings of this very thorough and detailed report.
“However, this doesn’t mean the problem has gone away, simply that we must find other ways to support residents who want to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
“The Labour Group will be pressing for the council to support more ‘cost free’ opportunities for residents to take part in physical activity such as walking, running and exercise.
“With more than 60% of adults in the borough overweight, and many not having the money to change their lifestyles, we need to be more innovative in the way we
“The council should determine the barriers preventing people from adopting a healthier lifestyle and integrate solutions into their planning policy.
“Takeaways are just one part of the problem.
“Healthy eating, lifestyle choices and exercise all play a part but often changing these habits is unaffordable given this borough is the ‘low pay’ capital of the country.”
The motion was approved with the support of councillors from all parties.
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