Too many takeaways! Call for action against Cannock obesity
More powers are needed to limit the number of takeaways allowed to open in a town, a report has stated.
Fast food outlets in Cannock have become too easy for people to access and are having an impact on poor health, according to a local authority report.
The report to Cannock Chase Council’s Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee reveals that in 2017, 33.4 per cent of food outlets in the district were takeaways – the highest percentage in Staffordshire, excluding Stoke-on-Trent.
This compared to Stafford’s 24.2 per cent, Lichfield’s 19.2 per cent and 17.4 per cent in South Staffordshire.
Cannock Chase also had the most takeaways per person in Staffordshire at 99 restaurants per 100,000.
Councillor Paul Woodhead, member of a scrutiny group looking into the impact on health of takeaways in the town, said: “We need to have a debate about what we as a council can do and how we engage the community in helping them understand the right choices.
“There are limitations in what you can do in terms of planning regarding takeaways.
“McDonald’s comes under a restaurant so you can’t cover that the same way as a fish and chip shop – but they’re both equally poor choices.
“There needs to be some national thinking about how we encourage the right choices.
“While the link between the number of takeaways and obesity levels are not conclusive, it is a significant contributing factor.”
According to the report, 70 per cent of all adults in the Cannock Chase District were overweight and, of those, 36 per cent, or around 28,700 people, were obese.
The district’s figures were higher than the average obesity levels for Staffordshire, West Midlands and England.
There are currently no statutory powers available to local authorities to directly control or limit the number of takeaways.
However, Wolverhampton council agreed to such food outlets from opening within 400 metres of schools last year in a bid to tackle the city’s obesity crisis.