April 20, 2009 / 4:37 PM / 10 years ago

Takeaway "too close to school" shut down

LONDON (Reuters) - A London council said on Monday it had shut down a fast-food outlet because it was trading too close to a school — the first local authority in the country to take such action.

A school sign in a file photo. REUTERS/File

Waltham Forest Council in east London said its enforcement officers and police had ordered “Bamboo Joint” in High Road, Leytonstone, to close down.

“Residents have told us they wanted us to take action against the proliferation of fast food outlets in this borough and today’s operation shows we’re doing exactly that,” said council leader Clyde Loakes.

“This fast food outlet has not got planning permission and has absolutely no chance of getting it, because of its proximity to a park and a school, so we’re closing it down.”

The owner of takeaway has three days to comply with the order, the council said in a statement.

“On March 24, we banned all new fast-food restaurants from opening within 400 metres of schools, and we were the first local authority in the country to do that,” a spokesman for the council said.

“We are the only local authority in the country that is currently banning new fast-food restaurants from opening near schools, parks and leisure centres.

“Residents said they didn’t like the litter, noise and anti-social behaviour relating to fast-food restaurants in this borough, however there is clear link to childhood obesity and healthy eating,” he added.

Back in 2005, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver spearheaded a campaign to serve healthier food in schools.

The resulting “Jamie’s School Dinners” programme saw him struggle to persuade children to try dishes other than chips, burgers and some other unhealthy foods.

Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Michael Holden

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