Thursday, June 29, 2017

News: Removal of takeaway policy hard to swallow


New hot food takeaways will be able to operate close to schools in Rotherham after a proposed Council policy was chucked out by the planning inspector.

Rotherham Council has been consulting on the Sites and Policies document within its Local Plan which sets out the detailed sites and development management policies to deliver growth over the next 15 years.

Policy SP 25 would only allow hot food takeaways in town, district and local centres if it didn't result in more than 10% of the ground floor units becoming takeaways; result in a high concentration of these A5 classed units on the same street; or negatively impact upon the amenity of surrounding businesses or residents.

A further part of the policy stated that hot food takeaways will not be permitted where they are within 800 metres of a primary school, secondary school or college, except where they are within a defined town, district or local centre and satisfy the requirements above.

Following inspection of the policies, the planning inspector, Christopher Anstey, asked the Council to remove the section about the distance to schools, stating that it "is not justified and is not consistent with national policy."

The Council said that the policy seeked to ensure that new hot food takeaways do not increase the exposure of school children and young adults to these uses. It added that the policy was in response to local health and wellbeing priorities and said that its approach was supported by a robust evidence base.

Damien Wilson, strategic director of regeneration and environment at Rotherham Council, said: "Unfortunately the restriction on hot food takeaways within 800 metres of schools, which I think was an admirable attempt in improving public health and issues around schools, is something that the inspector has recommended be taken out."

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, added: "The policy around takeaways close to schools was originally a scrutiny recommendation and so it would have been particularly nice to take it forward. It's frustrating when we know that similar restrictions have been put in place in other places."


During the consultation, fast food restaurant chains KFC and McDonald's registered their opposition to the proposed new planning policy. KFC argued that the policy was unsound against national policy and didn't believe that a reasoned justification had been substantially provided. McDonald's described the policy as ambiguous, unjustified and unsound, also pointing out that no justification for 800m exclusion zones was provided.

The Inspector also asked the Council to identify and consult upon the additional housing sites in the Wath upon Dearne, Brampton Bierlow and West Melton area. This is to remedy a shortfall of around 500 homes against the Core Strategy housing target for the area.

Another policy to be removed surrounded the use of a Green Belt site at Todwick where the Council, land-owner and developers hoped to see a high quality business park with enough space to bring an estimated minimum of 1,500 jobs.

Damien Wilson added: "Local plans all across the country, for all sorts of reasons, have been thrown out by inspectors - made to go back to the start. So in a sense, the five years worth of research to come up with the sites and policies that sit within the local plan is a good news story. What the inspector is effectively saying is that "you've got this right" subject to a few minor tweaks.

"The majority of housing and employment sites have been accepted as far as the inspector is concerned. The addition of Green Belt housing has been accepted, windfalls have also been accepted as part of housing supply, the gypsy and traveller site at Kiveton Park has been retained.

"On a scale of things, and I've been through a number of local plans, this is not bad. There are plans that go through main modifications that are much more substantial than this. Generally speaking, if you can accommodate these changes, and the inspector will be happy to make the plan sound, then this will put us ahead of the game as far as some of our near neighbours are concerned, where plans are just at the beginning."

Images: Google Maps


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