Town hall chiefs have declared a clampdown on fast food joints in a bid to tackle obesity and protect children’s health.
A raft of measures aimed at tackling the growing problem include the introduction of 400 metre exclusion zones around secondary schools for new hot food takeaways.
And fast-food planning applications for wards where more than 15 per cent of Year 6 and 10 per cent of reception pupils are obese will automatically be refused.
The clustering of hot food takeaways in deprived neighbourhoods will also be prohibited.
All the measures will now be included in the council’s emerging local plan – and bosses will also recommend they are included in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
A full meeting of Bury Council unanimously backed the proposals that were contained within a Conservative motion aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles – particularly among youngsters.
Presenting the motion to the chamber Tory leader Cllr James Daly said: “As adults we could be making the wrong life choices we should learn from our mistakes, but we should put in place a clear strategy to deal with this problem for our young people.”
He told councillors that, in Bury, 64.3 per cent of adults were living with excess weight, while 24 per cent of reception age children and 36.2 per cent of those in Year 6 pupils were either overweight or obese.
Cllr Daly said: “It’s a sobering fact that many young people, if obesity rates continue as they are, will die before their parents – end of.
“The problem of excess weight and obesity in children is correlated to areas of higher deprivation, it’s clearly not only a huge problem, but it can’t be right.”
He added that, between 2010 and 2018, Bury had seen a significant increase in the numbers of fast food outlets.
They rose from 90 to 215 with a greater concentration in more deprived areas “doubling the amount of takeaways selling food that is appallingly bad for our young people,”.
Cllr Daly said: “Trends in place since 2010 show the majority of fast foods outlets were placed in areas of greatest social deprivation where people with less money to spend on food, those are major issues.”
He said the issue of takeaways clustering in certain areas was frequently hotly debated in planning, control meetings, but added: “I don’t accept that the council can’t pass a motion like this and take a stand on this issue to protect he youngest people in our borough.”
His Conservative colleague, Cllr Yvonne Wright, added: “I personally feel vindicated as for years I have been mocked on the planning control committee for speaking out against more and more applications for takeaways, but it seems I was right all along with others in denial.”
Cllr Wright said she would be taking action herself to tackle the problem, by holding sessions in north Bury for those struggling with weight or budgeting, as well as undertaking a sponsored slim.
Labour’s Tamoor Tariq said that the figures outlined by Cllr Daly were in line with national averages, but the council could not afford to be complacent.
He added: “There’s not obviously one clear solution to this, no one agency can deal with it alone, it’s a case of sort of partnerships we have between local authorities, public health, GPs, the CCG, schools, residents,us as elected members in our communities – it really is a joined up approach.”