New strategy could be bad for Wigan takeaways

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

The public health impact of Wigan development schemes will be placed under the spotlight – and it could be bad news for new takeaways.

Town hall bosses are considering implementing a stricter framework for developers in a bid to promote healthier lifestyles.

The new policy could see housebuilders asked to focus on how accessible healthcare facilities are and give more consideration to whether exercise and open space provision can be included in designs.

The plans are part of proposed reforms to the council’s set of supplementary planning documents (SPDs) which are used to ‘guide and inform developers’.

Similar SPDs used by other councils – such as Manchester and Salford – place restrictions on how many takeaways there should be in certain areas and limit opening hours near schools.

A proposed health SPD will aim to support development that would lead to ‘strong, vibrant and healthy communities and help create healthy living environments that encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles,’ according to a town hall report.

It could be used to ensure section 106 cash is agreed to improve health-related facilities, Wigan officers have said.

The proposals will be discussed by respective members of the council’s planning committee and confident places scrutiny committee this week.

A draft health SPD is tabled to be completed for public consultation by October with a view for adoption in early 2020.

A report for this weeks meeting reads: “Good development can support strong, vibrant and healthy communities and help create healthy living environments that encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Concerns about obesity, inactive lifestyles and mental health and wellbeing (have) reignited awareness of the inherent link between health and the environment around us, which can be profoundly influenced by land use planning decisions.”

The council says it does already have an ‘informal guidance document’ regarding hot food establishments but this will be withdrawn when the health SPD is implemented as they ‘don’t carry the same weight’ in legal terms.