Stoke-on-Trent's headteachers to have say over new takeaways near schools
HEADTEACHERS are to be consulted over plans to ban takeaways from opening within 400 metres of their school gates.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council hopes to bring in the new planning regulations to help tackle childhood obesity levels across the city.
Officers will be meeting school leaders next month to gauge their views.
The Sentinel revealed earlier this year that the council was looking at introducing new rules relating to hot food takeaways.
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Now a supplementary planning document has been drawn up, which also looks at whether to limit the number of new takeaways in areas such as town centres.
Vicky Wootton, a senior planning officer at the council, said: "We have looked into a range of issues to do with the impact of health and the consistency of planning decisions."
One of the proposals is for school exclusion zones, which would prevent a new takeaway being set up within 400 metres of a school's main entrance.
The document states: "The 400-metre distance is recognised as a reasonable walking distance and is the standard distance applied to walking distances between bus stops."
Councillor Tom Reynolds, who also chairs the development management committee, said the document would give planners the ability to block takeaways in inappropriate locations.
He added: "I support this report going out and I welcome the opportunity for the public to have their say on it.
"I believe that active consultation will always lead to stronger policy."
However, if the school is close to a recognised town centre, the takeaways may still be allowed to open on the basis that business is to be encouraged in these areas.
John King, acting headteacher of Trentham High School, welcomed the proposals.
He said: "I think it is a very positive thing that the council are looking to bring in these exclusion zones around schools.
"We are quite lucky, because we don't have any takeaways in the vicinity that our pupils use.
"They do sometimes use a sandwich shop, which is at the top of the road, but there is certainly not an issue with accessing takeaway food.
"I think it would be positive in terms of clearing up litter from around schools and also the impact on leading a healthier lifestyle."
The council is also looking at a variety of other issues linked to takeaways, including their opening hours, litter, waste disposal, crime, and provision for healthier eating options.
A report will be presented to the council's cabinet in the New Year, looking at the way forward.
Should headteachers have a say over takeaways opening near their schools? Vote at www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/takeawaypoll