Hot Food Takeaway Supplementary Planning Document – Newcastle, UK

Key Insights

  • Using planning to make unhealthy food less accessible
  • Limiting consumption of takeaway food
  • Shaping food environment of school children


Child obesity is a major issue in Newcastle, as in other UK cities, yet in some neighbourhoods frequented by young people there are high concentrations of takeaway outlets serving unhealthy meals and snacks. In 2016 the city council adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that seeks to curb the problem. The SPD informs decisions over changing the use of commercial premises to become takeaways, or establishing new ones. In particular, proposed takeaways should not be within walking distance of a school or outside of local retail centres.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

Food takeaway in New Castle (United Kingdom), Shutterstock/Larry McGuirk

The action and its aims

Newcastle City Council developed a Hot Food Takeaway Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to curb the proliferation of takeaways within a ten-minute walk of secondary schools and in high concentration neighborhoods. The SPD informs planning decisions over changes of use of commercial premises or establishment of new ones. The aims are to make unhealthy food less easily accessible for school children and to prevent the overconcentration of takeaways.

When it was introduced

The SPD was adopted in 2016.

Why it was needed

It was considered necessary as some areas of the city are ‘saturated’ with hot food takeaways selling food that is high in fat, salt and sugar, while child obesity poses a major threat to public health in Newcastle – as in the rest of the UK.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The Newcastle City Council Planning Team prepared the SPD. The draft SPD was then put out for public consultation for four weeks.

Impacts to date

In the first year 10 planning applications were received for change of use or newly-build hot food takeaways. Of these, one was rejected on the grounds that it was within walking distance of a secondary school and not within a local retail center.

More information: Similar restrictions have been implemented by other local governments in the UK, including Manchester, and London-wide restrictions on new takeaways within 400m of schools are proposed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, under the 2018 London Food Strategy.

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