Regulatory mechanisms to create healthier environments: Planning appeals and hot food takeaways in England

Claire O'Malley, Amelia Lake, Helen Moore, Nick Gray, Callum Bradford, Carl Petrokofsky, Angeliki Papadaki, Suzanne Spence, Scott Lloyd, Michael Chang, Tim Townshend

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Aims: To explore existing regulatory mechanisms to restrict hot food takeaway (HFT) outlets through further understanding processes at local and national levels.

Methods: The Planning Appeals Portal was utilised to identify recent HFT appeal cases across England between December 2016 and March 2020. Eight case study sites were identified using a purposive sampling technique and interviews carried out with 12 professionals involved in planning and health to explore perceptions of and including factors that may impact on the HFT appeal process. Additionally, documents applicable to each case were analysed and a survey completed by seven Local Authority (LA) health professionals. To confirm findings, interpretation meetings were conducted with participants and a wider group of planning and public health professionals, including a representative from the Planning Inspectorate.

Results: Eight case study sites were identified, and 12 interviews conducted. Participants perceived that LAs would be better able to work on HFT appeal cases if professionals had a good understanding of the planning process/the application of Local Planning Policy and Supplementary Planning Documents; Adequate time and capacity to deal with appeals cases; Access to accurate, robust, and up to date information; Support and commitment from elected members and senior management; Good lines of communication with local groups/communities interested in the appeal; Information and resources that are accessible and easy to interpret across professional groups.

Conclusions: Communication across professional groups appeared to be a key factor in successfully defending decisions. Understanding the impact of takeaway outlets on health and communities in the long term was also important. To create a more robust appeals case and facilitate responsiveness, professionals involved in an appeal should know where to locate current records and statistical data. The enthusiasm of staff and support from senior management/elected officials will play a significant role in driving these agendas forward.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives in Public Health
Early online date12 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Aug 2023


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