Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Rotherham council considers fast food ban near schools

Fast food shops could be banned from opening within 1,300 ft (400m) of schools in Rotherham.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council said the proposed "exclusion zones" would act as "a measure to support reducing childhood obesity".

However, one takeaway owner whose cafe is near a school said the ban would restrict students' "freedom of choice".

The council said more than 20 other local authorities in the country already operated exclusion zones.

The proposal is one of several measures being discussed by councillors in an attempt to tackle childhood obesity in the town.

In 2009 a £3.5m specialist weight reduction centre was opened by the NHS after a report found that more than a third of children in the borough were obese.

'Wholesome foods'

Patrick Daley, head teacher at Clifton Community School, said he welcomed the proposed takeaways ban.

"In the case of the locality that we serve here there are sufficient takeaways as it is," he said.

"So personally I would be all in favour for the banning of any new proposed takeaways to be sited as we don't need anymore."

Melanie Webster, who runs a cafe opposite the school, said pupils were old enough to decide what to eat.

"They are 15 and 16," she said. "They're young adults in my eyes they should have a choice about what they want to eat.

"I offer a variety of fresh wholesome foods, salads, pastas. If they want to have chips they can have chips, if they want a salad they can have a salad.

"It's entirely up to them."

If introduced, the ban would only apply to new fast food outlets wanting to open near schools.

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