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Plymouth obesity campaigner demands tighter controls on takeaways

Stephen Beer from St Budeaux says he wants others to learn from his experience. Credit: ITV News Westcountry

An obesity campaigner from Plymouth says councils across the UK should put tighter controls on takeaways opening in certain areas of towns and cities.

Stephen Beer from St Budeaux has featured on many television programmes about the battles with his weight.

Now at 35 stone, Stephen is on a strict diet to try and get his weight down and live a more healthy lifestyle. However, he claims the easy accessibility of takeaways has contributed to his obesity.

£16bn
Obesity related illnesses are costing the NHS an average of £16 billion pounds a year.

Stephen has campaigned against new branches of certain takeaways and fast-food outlets from opening in parts of Plymouth, once chaining himself to the site of a proposed new fried chicken restaurant.

There are 23 fast-food businesses on Victoria Road near his home, almost double the number that existed five years ago.

A recent investigation by ITV's Tonight Programme revealed that the number of fast food takeaways on our streets has risen by nearly 10% in the last three years.

Stephen is concerned about the number of takeaways near his home in St Budeaux. Credit: ITV News Westcountry

Residents in St Budeaux had mixed views on whether takeaways were having a negative influence on health ...

Academics are also calling for more to be done by several parties involved in the public health debate. Clare Pettinger is a Lecturer in Public Heath at the University of Plymouth. She says that the producers of fast food, politicians and individuals all need to take more responsibility for combatting obesity.

In a statement, Plymouth City Council said:

“Plymouth’s Health and Wellbeing Board has identified encouraging a healthy diet and tackling obesity as priorities.

“We know that there is a lot we can do as a city to encourage us to watch what we eat and look after our health and we’re taking a co-ordinated approach to doing this with our partners through Thrive Plymouth.

“We are supporting the national Sugar Smart campaign to reduce sugar in food and drinks and help Plymouth’s residents make healthier food choices.

“We also commission Livewell’s ‘One You Plymouth’ services, which include support and advice around healthy eating and nutrition.

“The emerging Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan has integrated polices that seek to improve the health and wellbeing of all communities across the city.

“One of the policies in the plan (Policy DEV6 – Hot food takeaways in Plymouth) says the local planning authority will resist new hot food takeaways within a 400-metre radius of secondary schools and will protect the food environment.

“Another (DEV16 – Providing retail and town centre uses in appropriate locations) regulates the type and mix of commercial uses within the retail hierarchy. This means the number and type of uses within a city, district or local centre will be carefully managed to ensure they are of an appropriate scale.

“The Plymouth Development Guidelines Supplementary Planning Document (2013) sets out the type of considerations that will be used to assess this, including noise and disturbance, cooking odour, visual amenity, refuse, litter, cumulative impact, access and parking.

“The Plymouth and South West Devon Joint Local Plan has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination and is being referred to in determining planning applications. How much weight to attach to the plan would be a decision for the case officer for that particular application (and, if appropriate, the Planning Committee), taking into account the National Planning Policy Framework.”

– Plymouth City Council Spokesperson.