Fast Food Outlet Causing More Than a Nugget of Concern
Chicken Cottage looks set to open next to Twyford CE High School
The MP for Ealing North, Steve Pound, has been surprised by a flood of letters and emails about a fast food take-away in Acton.
"Although Twyford Church of England High School is not in Ealing North many of my constituents have children or family there and the universal expression of fury that has erupted has left me as breathless as if I’d been on a diet of deep fried extruded chicken remnants for months."
A Chicken Cottage franchisee identified Twyford Church of England School as an excellent location to open a fast food take-away.
The premises is also is also close to Acton High School and convenient for customers hungry after a night out at the Redback.
Mr Pound says: "No doubt the franchisee sees this as a real money maker.
''My concern, and the concern of many a Twyford person, is that a fat dripping carbohydrate heavy chemically flavoured and coloured “chicken” nugget could well be an attractive option to High School pupils but not only represents a direct challenge to the government’s widely endorsed anti-obesity strategy but would inevitably become a gathering place that will lead to the sort of problems that – frankly – we just don’t need."
He continues: "Maybe Ealing Council should have consulted the school before approving this planning application, maybe the government should legislate to ensure that schools have some say in issues that may lie outside the boundary but are directly relevant.
He also comments that, "Possibly the innate good sense and maturity of Twyford pupils will ensure that takings over the greasy counter are not as high as the franchisee would avariciously long for."
However, he says that he is certain of one thing: "Unhealthy food should not be sold on the very doorstep of a school and I made the point directly to the Secretary of State for Education when Twyford Head Teacher, Alice Hudson, local MP Andy Slaughter and I met Ed Balls recently."
We asked Ealing Council to comment. A council spokesman said: “There were no grounds under the national or local planning policies at the time the application was submitted to allow the council to refuse it. Following a change in government guidance the council is looking at the issue of fast food outlets close to schools as part of its local development framework, a blueprint for the borough’s future.” [A meeting was held in Acton last night to encourage local people to take part in this process].
However, earlier this year, it was reported that a fast food outlet in Leytonstone was shut down because its proximity to a school meant that it contravened the local authority's (Waltham Forest Council) rules.
Waltham Forest Council issued a statement at the time: "On March 24, we banned all new fast-food restaurants from opening within 400 metres of schools, and we were the first local authority in the country to do that. We are the only local authority in the country that is currently banning new fast-food restaurants from opening near schools, parks and leisure centres.
"Residents said they didn't like the litter, noise and anti-social behavior relating to fast-food restaurants in this borough, however there is clear link to childhood obesity and healthy eating," he added."
One parent of a Twyford School student we spoke to said: "Really, it seems idiotic that a fast food outlet can be allowed to open so close to the school. It is just plain wrong on so many levels - how is it possible that Ealing Council has no power to stop this happening?"
Fast food outlets close to schools? What do you think?
Comment on this story on the forum