New fast food outlets may be banned near Wrexham schools

Councillors in Wrexham are considering proposals to establish exclusion zones of 400m around local schools to prevent new fast food outlets from opening.

The planning constraint has been recommended to support efforts to tackle childhood obesity and improve eating habits.

Councillors are also advising schools to ensure that pupils are kept on site at lunchtime and encouraged to eat healthy schools dinners.

Under current rules the individual school is able to decide if pupils are allowed to leave site during lunchtime. However, with figures suggesting that 25% of the county’s school children are obese, the council is keen to encourage healthy eating habits.

A spokesman for the council explained that the proposed exclusion zone would only apply to new fast food outlets that are being proposed.

The council have acknowledged that they may need to exercise some degree of flexibility where fast food outlets are keen to secure town centre locations which may fall within the 400m exclusion zone.

The council believes that there has been a significant improvement in the food that is now provided in the county’s schools.

The council has worked with local health organisations to produce a new planning document which aims to guide new fast food outlets to the most appropriate sites.

These will be sites that balance the recognised need and benefits that these outlets can bring to shopping centres and communities, with the need to minimise the associated impacts such as public health issues, smells, parking and noise.

If the scheme is approved Councillors have said that they will refuse proposed new fast food outlets within the exclusion zone and will instead direct them towards the district and town centre shopping centres.