There was some good news for the people of Sunderland last month when local councillors managed to stop a small business from opening. They had received an application to open a Mexican takeaway restaurant on premises formerly occupied by a dog grooming salon on Tunstall Village Road. Spotting the words ‘Mexican cuisine’ in the temporary change of use application, the council concluded that the company would ‘not support or improve the health and wellbeing of local communities’ and turned it down.
Those who live in and around Tunstall Village Road may have been saved from having burritos within walking distance, but the residents of less fortunate communities remain at risk. The Times has just ‘revealed’ that Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has been ‘thwarting efforts to stop fast-food outlets near schools’. According to Stephen Turnbull, Wakefield council’s director of public health, this has made his team ‘depressed’.
Mr Turnbull is one of England’s 130 public health directors. The job of these health directors, handsomely remunerated with salaries well over £100,000, is to make a nuisance of themselves at council meetings, waffling about ‘health inequalities’ and objecting whenever anyone tries to open an off licence or kebab shop. During the pandemic they were about as much use as a chocolate teapot because they don’t know much about infectious disease. They don’t know about non-infectious diseases for that matter, except that they are caused by capitalism.
The complaint of Mr Turnbull and his depressed team is that whenever they, or another council, try to stop KFC from opening a shop, KFC points out that a ban would be unlawful and not grounded in evidence. External planning inspectors are then brought in to adjudicate and often they agree with the company.