Planning Decision Blog
(DCS Number 400-025-220).
The inspector made reference to a review of the literature which considered the link between decisions made through the land use planning system and human health (Land Use Planning and Health and Well-being, Hugh Barton, 2009), which concluded that the relationship is multifaceted and that any link between the two, especially in urban areas, is highly complex. Obesity is a ‘wicked’ problem, he noted, where one policy intervention is likely to have positive and negative consequences. He agreed with Barton’s analysis that the relationship between the health of citizens and the urban environment is one fraught with complexity and difficulty. Nevertheless, he considered it undisputable that there was an obesity problem amongst children in the area, and that in too many cases this would continue into adulthood. He also found it undisputable that food from hot food takeaways is generally very high in salt and fat, and that such establishments were found in high numbers in the area and were used frequently.
The inspector concluded that whilst the proposal would deliver some benefits the harm that would be caused to the health of the local community would be significant and was a matter of overriding concern.
This decision makes me uncomfortable. There is no clear evidence from the literature review of a spatial correlation between school locations, takeaway locations and health. Almost every planning problem is a wicked problem, however for an issue to be a material planning consideration there has to be some kind of demonstrable spatial relationship. I.e. the firther distance from public transport the more people will drive. here there was none. The inspector was making a general observation over health. They were being a health and morals regulator. Not there job. Beyond their powers. What does PINS training say about this? On the basis of the inspectors logic all chip shops should be banned.