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Birmingham Lord Mayor criticised over KFC opening

image copyrightKFC
image captionThe local residents' association welcomed the new KFC

Birmingham's Lord Mayor has come under fire for agreeing to open a new fast food restaurant despite the authority's pledge to tackle obesity.

Councillor Shafique Shah is due to open the KFC in Coventry Road, Sheldon - about half a mile from a primary school - on Monday.

Yardley Conservative Association chair Ann Clark called it "hypocritical".

Birmingham City Council said it had a strict policy to limit the number of takeaways.

Last month, the authority said it would be extending its Startwell initiative, which aims to tackle the problem by offering training and nutritional advice to schools and nurseries.

image copyrightGoogle Maps
image captionCouncillor Shafique Shah is due to open the KFC in Coventry Road, Sheldon

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "I think it would have been preferable for the Lord Mayor to have been doing something else on the day instead of opening fast food restaurants."

Mrs Clark said: "I do think it's sending the wrong message. It appears the council is saying one thing and doing another."

'Patient chicken fans'

A KFC spokesman said the new takeaway, near St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, was replacing a smaller KFC takeaway that closed in September. The new restaurant will create 43 jobs.

Restaurant manager Abbas Ghulam said the company "looked forward to bringing fresh tasty chicken back to our patient fans".

Birmingham City Council said it made sure no more than 10% of units within a shopping centre, or parade, comprised of hot food takeaways.

Councillor John Cotton, the council's health and wellbeing boss, said: "The policy is one of the ways we're tackling the issues of obesity and healthy eating in Birmingham and has proved extremely effective in the first two years.

"But it's important to stress that we're not anti-takeaway, these businesses do create jobs. We simply want to ensure that people across the city have the opportunity to make healthy choices."

Ted Edenborough, chair of Sheldon Residents' Association, said he welcomed the move.

"It's better than the building that was there, which was derelict for many years," he said.

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