Plan to ban takeaways opening near schools

The policy could give the council powers to veto plans for new takeways.
The policy could give the council powers to veto plans for new takeways.

Takeaways could be banned from opening near schools in Morley, under new rules being drawn up by Leeds City Council.

Councillors voted in favour of creating a new planning policy that would enable them to control the location and concentration of hot food takeways, in a move to encourage healthier eating.

The policy could give the council powers to veto plans for new takeways if there are already several in the area or if the proposed food outlet would be “too close” to a school.

Morley North councillor Tom Leadley proposed the motion at last week’s full council meeting.

He said: “Obesity has increased tremendously in this country over the last 30 years or so. And one thing that seems to have happened in this time is the proliferation of hot food takeways.”

Coun Leadley proposed the motion following plans by McDonald’s to build a restaurant at the White Bear pub site in Tingley.

Councillors objected to the proposals on the grounds that having a fast food takeway close to Woodkirk Academy would be a “health liability”.

Leeds City Council refused the application but the fast food giant appealed the decision.

A planning inquiry ruled against the development in May over concerns about highways safety and the effect on nearby residents.

Coun Leadley said: “There are some parts of Morley, such as the town centre, where there is a lot of takeways.

“But the thing that brought this to a head was the fact that McDonald’s wanted to put this one large takeway so close to Woodkirk Academy.

“We are fairly certain that they would have exploited students at the school as their main clientele.”

The new planning policy will be drafted by the council. And Coun Leadley hopes it will come into force next year.

Coun Neil Dawson, Morley South councillor, welcomed the motion put forward at the full council meeting last Wednesday.

He said: “One of the weaknesses in the argument against the proposal to have a McDonald’s located near to two schools was that Leeds City Council did not have a

specific hot food takeaway policy as part of our planning framework.

“We should change this as it would allow planning applications to be challenged.

“Where there are proposals to have hot food takeaways near to a school, or where there is an over concentration in one area, we should allow our officers and planning panels to be able challenge the siting of the hot food takeaways on public health grounds.”