School takeaway ban challenged

Monday December 10th 2018

Lasswade Primary School

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A ban on new takeaways opening within 400 metres of a primary school is being challenged by Scotmid.

Midlothian Council introduced its new guidance for planning officers last month which set out how close new hot food vendors would be allowed to its schools.

However the decision to include primary schools in the ban has been challenged by the supermarket giants who say most youngsters would not be allowed out during the day.

Scotmid have appealed a decision by the local authority to ban them from turning a shop they own into a takeaway because it is too close to Lasswade Primary School, in Bonnyrigg.

The shop, which was formerly Sprott’s News, on Lothian Street, is said to be 235 metres from the school boundary ‘as the crow flies’ although Scotmid point out that by road it is 380 metres away.

Appealing against the refusal to the Scottish Government, on Scotmid’s behalf their agent said they were of the view that the restrictions “should not be applied to primary schools”.

They said: “Pupils in the latter, with perhaps some limited exceptions, are retained within the school grounds for their entire duration of the school day and as such will not be exposed to the food served in takeaway facilities.”

Referring to the distance between the proposed takeaway and the schools they added “In the circumstances described it is, on our opinion, quite inconceivable to consider that the physical relationship of the application site to the nearest primary school would pose a risk to the health and wellbeing of any pupils attending it.”

The retail shop closed at the end of September due to what was described as poor trading conditions.

Scotmid were hoping to turn it into a hot food takeaway however the new supplementary guidance approved by Midlothian Council led to it being refusing planning permission.

The guidance said: “It is reasonable and appropriate for the council to prevent provision of new premises and the change of use of premises to hot food takeaways on account of the adverse impact that they have on the diets of young people and the health of communities.

“Hot food takeaways will not be permitted where they fall within 400 metres of the curtilage of a primary or secondary school.”

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