Friday, 24 December 2010

Planning application: change of use to A5 hot food takeaway REFUSED!

MERA - and other local residents - have helped to stem the number of fast food outlets in the Mile End area.  The planning application for a change of use of 566-568 Mile End Road from an A1 retail to an A5 hot food takeaway has been REFUSED.

MERA submitted a formal objection to the planning application.
  • You can read the MERA objections to change of use application here (PDF) 
  • We argued that the rationale for the change of use was purely economic and that resolution of this could be addressed in other ways which maintain the current A1 use.
  • MERA also identified that the proposed development was contrary to a number of Tower Hamlets Planning policies.
The full report from LBTH planning (PDF) states that ten letters of representation were received raising objections including  :-
  • Littering from hot food takeaways in the area.
  • The proliferation of hot food in the area.
  • The possible increase increase in levels of anti-social behavior and nuisance in the area impacting on neighbouring residential amenity.
  • The proposal will in no way enhance the character, vitality and viability of the area.
  • The proposal is contrary to Strategic Objective 10 (adopted Core Strategy 2010) which seeks to deliver healthy and livable neighbourhoods that promote active and healthy lifestyles.
The proposal does not adequately demonstrate how the amenities of residential occupiers will be safeguarded
Representations were also received from NHS Tower Hamlets pointing out that the over-concentration of fast food outlets “detracts from the ability to adopt healthy lifestyles”

The importance of this decision is that it effectively sets a precedent in relation to any future application for a similar change of use in this area.  This effectively prevents any future increase in the number of fast food takeaways in this area.  

The detailed reasons for refusal provide no scope for the Council to approve any further applications for a change of use to A5 in the Mile End area.  MERA will certainly be quoting all the reasons set out in this report in objections to any future planning applications within the MERA area should one come forward.

Prospective applicants may wish to note that MERA covers the area south of Mile End Road, East of Burdett Road, north of Bow Common Lane and west of the British Street Estate.

    Economic Development:  What should happen next

    We applaud the fact that Tower Hamlets Planning finally seems to have got the message about the impact of fast/junk food outlets on children and healthy lifestyles.

    The proliferation of hot food takeaways is simply NOT compatible with either the strategic aims for improving the economic vitality of the area or the aim of improving the health status of the local population.

    The reality is that there are still far too many hot food takeaways in the Mile End area which have had an adverse impact on both the local retail economy and local health.

    In Tower Hamlets there are 42 junk food outlets to every school. 

    This compares to the national average ratio of 25 outlets per school.

    What we'd now like to see are some proposals from the Council to address the reasons why so many of the 17 existing A5 uses within 400 yards of Mile End Underground Station found it necessary to seek a change of use to A5 use.

    We'd like to see a reduction in the overall number of hot food takeaways and help and support given to local small businesses to enable a return of some of the units to A1 retail use and/or uses more appropriate to the local community.

    Bottom line we'd like to see a sustainable local retail economy which isn't completely biased towards fast food, betting shops and Tescos!

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