Row breaks out over fast-food ban in council-owned shops
A SENIOR councillor slammed plans to ban fast food outlets in council-owned buildings, believing the authority would be 'shooting itself in the foot.'
Tory Councillor Luke Stubbs criticised the Lib Dem administration after it announced new takeaways would no longer be allowed in Portsmouth City Council properties in a bid to boost health in the city.
It came after councillors voiced concerns about a Domino's Pizza occupying the ground floor unit in council-owned Illustrious House in Winston Churchill Avenue.
As the lease was already agreed Domino's will take the space but deputy council leader Cllr Steve Pitt warned no further authority-owned sites would host fast food venues.
Cllr Pitt said: 'As the local authority we do have a responsibility for the health of residents.'
But Cllr Luke Stubbs believed revenue generated from rent would be of more benefit. 'The anticipated rental income of that site is in excess of £100,000,' he said.
'A naive ban on food outlets means you can kiss goodbye to getting that money. If you do that, you have to take something out of the budget, such as three community wardens or a library - and of course you'll still get the takeaways, it's just that a private landlord will be the one benefitting from the rent.
'The council would be shooting itself in the foot.'
Last year it was revealed by Public Health England that within the south east Portsmouth had the most fast food outlets compared to its population.
A total of 269 fast food restaurants were recorded, which includes places selling sandwiches, burgers, chips, fried chicken, pizzas, kebabs and international cuisines. The data shows the city’s rate is 126 outlets per 100,000 people.
Other figures showed 65 per cent of Portsmouth’s adult population was overweight.
Cllr Stubbs added: 'It should be a freedom of choice.
'If people want to buy a takeaway then it is neither the council nor the government's business to interfere.'
Cllr Pitt said this would only apply to certain outlets. He said: 'This isn't to say we wouldn't allow restaurants and other food outlets in our buildings, we're only talking about unhealthy food.'
Illustrious House opened in 2017 and has 16 affordable flats.