We have received a number of enquiries asking for clarification of Sandwell Council's policy in respect of hot food takeaways in the borough, so I thought I would try to give a brief outline of the position on here. The full policy contained in a supplementary planning guidance can be downloaded here.
I suppose the first thing to make clear is that generally it is not intended that the role of planning authorities should be to control choice or the market. If there are too many estate agents, chip shops, pound shops etc. it is the expectation that the successful ones will survive and the weak will go to the wall because they can't keep their customers.
However, fast food takeaways are more likely to have a detrimental impact on the retail character and function of shopping centres. They are often shuttered up during the day leading to dead frontages and this can reduce town centre viability and increase the incidence of litter, smells, anti-social behaviour, noise and general disturbance, parking and traffic problems. As well as these factors, the supplementary guidance is designed to take into account the issue of obesity, particularly amongst young people.
So, Sandwell's policy guidance as it affects Bearwood, is basically:
- There should be no more than 10% of frontages occupied by hot food takeaways.
- There should be no more than two outlets together selling hot food takeaways.
- Appropriate storage areas must be specified for food waste bins and packaging waste and included in any new proposal.
- No fast food takeaway within 400 metres of a secondary school (this is overruled if the shop is within a defined town centre like Bearwood)
On the register of outlets in Bearwood last March the number of A5 (fast food takeaways – remember, the takeaway must be the main purpose of their business so cafes and restaurants are excluded) units in Bearwood was 17 out of 264 outlets, or 6.44%.
I hope this is helpful to people who may be intending to object to a planning application, but if anyone wants any further advice, don't hesitate to get in touch.