Labour-run Waltham Forest Council are proposing a ban on new takeaways opening with "400 metres" (just under 440 yards) from schools. The borough has among the worst rates of child obesity in Britain.
What does everyone think? Some will see this as illiberal but then the planning system is pretty restrictive anyway. If market forces were operating we would probably have fewer retail outlets and more housing. We seem to have a lot of empty shops and a shortage of homes so wouldn’t some rebalancing to allow change of use from, for example, takeaways to homes, make economic sense. Sometimes this wouldn’t be appropriate but in other places – such as on the corner of a high street and residential terrace it might well be.
In that sense it would be a liberalisation of the planning system rather than a further restriction that could reduce the number of existing takeaways. I suppose Waltham Forest are proposing something more restrictive and it might result in an empty shop where a takeaway has been turned down and no other retail outlet is considered profitable.
Another point is what are Waltham Forest schools doing to provide healthy appetising food so that children don’t have the inclination to bunk off to the local chippie? What are the schools doing to organise sports competitions with each other?