Can we cut down on takeaways?
Now we all enjoy the occasional takeaway, but the sheer number of hot food outlets opening in our local shopping centres has become a real problem. Indeed, some of our shopping areas are in danger of being completely dominated by takeaways. This frequently creates problems and nuisance for residents living nearby and threatens the long-term viability of our shopping centres.
Part of the problem has been the lack of any strong Council planning policy to control the number of takeaways that are allowed to open in our local centres. Frustratingly, this has led to several cases where residents have vociferously opposed plans to open the umpteenth takeaway in their street, only to find that the Council has no powers to refuse the planning application. The situation has become farcical and the lack of proper controls has let local people down.
So, I was pleased to discover last week that all this may be about to change. The City Council’s Planning and Regeneration Department have started a consultation on a new set of tougher rules, that will give planners the power to control the number of takeaways. Under these proposals, the number of hot food takeaways allowed to open in a shopping centre will be limited to 10% of the total number of shop units. The Council are also proposing additional rules to stop too many pubs, cafes, restaurants or takeaways opening in one area, if that will cause problems for residents living close by.
These sound like positive steps to me and I believe they will help us to create shopping areas that are rather more balanced than is the case at present. They will also help to address the concerns that residents have about the failure to control the explosion in the number of hot food takeaways.
The consultation on the proposed new rules runs until 19 December. You can read the full details and have your say about the proposals by clicking here.