Southsea D-Day museum car park seafront pizza machine plan causes concerns from police and health experts

COUNCIL plans to install a pizza vending machine on Southsea seafront have drawn strong criticism from both health leaders and Hampshire police.

By Josh Wright
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 4:55 am

Portsmouth City Council is applying for planning permission to install the Pizza Rebellion machine in the D-Day Story car park which it said was ‘an innovative idea’.

But concerns have been raised about the potential for it to increase anti-social behaviour in the area and over the principle of the council backing an increase in the availability of fast food.

Southampton GP Karen Malone, in a formal objection to the planning application, said it was 'promoting the mindset that ultra-processed food is healthy’.

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A pizza vending machine similar to one that could be installed in at the D-Day Story museum car park in Southsea

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‘We currently have an epidemic of both obesity and poor metabolic health, leading to chronic diseases that impact negatively on the health and wellbeing of the community,’ she said. ‘I see the effects that this has daily on both patients, their families and the NHS.

‘The continual legacy of health problems that are a direct consequence of poor eating habits will also have an increasing financial impact on the services that the council will be required to provide long-term.

‘It is the council's responsibility to promote good health and not encourage/support bad ones. I have no doubt that there is already a plethora of fast food establishments within the area and residents won't miss this one.’

Her concerns have been echoed in objections from health coaches, including Mark Hancock of The Grange Surgery in Petersfield who has called on the council to withdraw the application and instead put a greater focus on improving the health of people in the city.

An ambassador of the charity Public Health Collaboration has also raised similar concerns to the council.

But on top of these, Hampshire police designing out crime officer Stuart York has raised separate concerns about the application, warning it could increase incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.

'The car park lies within the walls of an existing fortification which significantly limits natural surveillance from outside the car park and limits the opportunities for escape,' he said. 'In the proposed position there will be very little natural surveillance of the dispenser from the public highway.

'The facility will attract people into the car park, which increases the opportunities for crime and disorder.'

Should it be installed, the machine will be operated by the Chichester-based company which handmakes pizzas and then stocks them.

The application has drawn some support, including from Gisors Road resident Claire Wallace who welcomed the proposed provision of pizzas made from 'healthy ingredients'.

The application involves planning permission to replace the car park cycle racks, opposite the public toilets, with the equipment for an initial trial period. The bike racks will be moved.

A council spokesman said the proposal was part of efforts to provide ‘quality food and drink on the seafront’ and that it could be 'very popular'.

A deadline of Thursday, May 26 had been set for reaching a decision on the planning application but the council has yet to make one.