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LGA response to RSPH league table of 'unhealthiest' high streets

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, responded to a Royal Society for Public Health league table of "unhealthiest" high streets.

"Councils want high streets to thrive and are on the side of local people when it comes to tackling the high concentrations of takeaways, betting shops and payday lenders.

Councils have been calling for many of the same recommendations contained in the report, including a public health objective in licensing and a power for them to consider the cumulative impact of betting shops in close proximity.

"Local authorities are hamstrung by the current planning and licensing systems, under which councils have extremely limited powers to refuse openings, even in places that are already saturated with certain types of businesses. Following LGA lobbying, government has just announced new controls requiring businesses to seek planning permission for new betting shops and payday loan shops. This is a step in the right direction, but councils need much greater local discretion to shape their high streets and help stimulate local economic growth.

"In addition to powers to tackle nuisance premises, councils are calling for further initiatives to give local high streets a shot in the arm. These include a greater emphasis on entertainment and leisure facilities, such as sports clubs; the means to takeover empty shops; more powers over local transport; and less unnecessary red tape."

Contact

Matthew Cooper, Senior Media Officer
Local Government Association
Telephone: 020 7664 3007
Email: matthew.cooper@local.gov.uk
Media Office (out-of-hours contact): 020 7664 3333
Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ

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