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Birmingham plans to ‘cap’ fast food development

Proposals for a planning regime which would limit the number of fast food outlets allowed in any one of 73 defined local shopping areas within Birmingham have been unveiled for consultation by the city council.

This proposal, drawn up in a Shopping and Local Centres Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), sets maximum levels for non-retail units and fast food outlets within ‘local centres’, beyond which planning approval for new premises would not be granted.

These limits would apply to 73 local shopping areas, ranging in size from larger areas such as Erdington, Soho Road and Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, to smaller neighbourhood centres like Cotteridge, Robin Hood Hall Green and Walmley.

In the larger centres at least 55 per cent of buildings in the shopping area would be required to retain a retail use, reduced to 50 per cent in smaller areas. In addition, the SPD sets a limit of no more than 10 per cent of units in any area should be fast-food outlets.

This regime would apply to all new planning applications in the 73 specified areas but would not be retrospectively applied to existing businesses.

Councillor Timothy Huxtable, cabinet member for transport, environment and regeneration, said: “By first defining and then managing the development of each area we hope to encourage new investment into centres to make them more attractive, lively and flourishing, with sufficient numbers of shops and services to help meet local needs.”

Councillor Peter Douglas Osborne, chair of the planning committee, said: “This will finally give us in Birmingham the powers to take a more pragmatic approach when it comes to considering applications for yet more takeaway establishments in areas already saturated with fast-food outlets”.

The draft Supplementary Planning Document can be viewed on the Council’s website.

In a related but separate development, councillor David Parsons, chair of the Local Government Association’s environment and housing board, has told the Commons culture, media and sport committee that the Government must give councils new powers “to stop betting shops setting up if they are likely to cause a public nuisance.

“The same applies to places which have been taken over by fast-food takeaways, strip clubs and late night bars”.

The all-party committee is currently reviewing the impact of the Gambling Act 2005.


Roger Milne

10 November 2011