No to KFC in Garston

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We are signing to register our objections to the proposed new KFC restaurant in Garston. Planning permission has been sought to build a new restaurant on the site of the existing Alexandra pub on Speke Road. The following reasons are why we strongly object to this proposal.

On the "Indices of Deprivation 2015" Liverpool scored as the third most health deprived domain in England. Speke/ Garston is within 10% of the most deprived areas nationally ranking at 443 out of 32844 neighbourhoods in England. Public Health England analysis shows that obesity incidence is higher in children from poorer neighbourhoods. Their analysis also shows that these poorer neighbourhoods have a higher density of fast food outlets. They conclude "environment impacts on the food choices we make". Public Health England health surveys show that prevalence of childhood obesity rises with deprivation and consumption of fruit and vegetables falls. St. Mary's Road from Seddon Road junction up to the proposed site on Speke Road (800 metres) currently has 6 take away outlets, including a fried chicken take away; 3 cafes and 3 bakery shops. There are no greengrocers. Within 1.5 miles of the proposed site there are already 3 drive thru fast food restaurants. 

In December 2017 city councillors stated that Liverpool was in the grip of an obesity epidemic for children and adults. Throughout the city 30% of 11 year old are obese. Recent studies published in the Journal of Public Health show a correlation between accessibility to fast food outlets and weight gain over time. They found that children living closer to outlets were more likely to gain a significant amount of weight between the first and last years of primary school. They conclude that there is growing "evidence that neighbourhood environment plays an important role in development of obesity". There are 3 primary schools within 500 metres of the proposed site educating 722 3 to 11 year old children. Within the same distance there are 3 nurseries caring for 199 babies, toddlers and preschoolers as well as a soft play provider. There is 1 secondary school within 200 metres of the proposed site educating 1080 pupils. These children deserve our protection- not an obesogenic environment.

The council and Liverpool CCG launched 2020 Decade of Health and Wellbeing. The strategy released states that "lifestyle trends [are] increasing the risk factors for ill health, [and] increasing demands on services". There are 80000 adults and 13000 children classed as obese. The direct cost of obesity to Liverpool NHS is around £5 million per year and a further £15 million to the wider economy. To meet its budget requirements in 2017-2018 Liverpool NHS has had to make budget savings of almost £26 million. Between November 2015 and December 2016 KFC UK made pre tax profits of £56 million, paying approximately £10.5 million in corporation tax to HMRC. 4 in 10 KFC outlets across the country are in socially and economically deprived areas. The jobs that a KFC could provide are not guaranteed to go to people from the local area. KFC gains far more than the local area and its inhabitants ever will.

The Health and Social Care Act of 2012 places a duty on upper tier local authorities to work to improve the health of their population. Liverpool City Council's Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2014-2019 lists their first outcome as "giving children and young people the best start in life", the strategy goes on to state that this "depends on wider determinants of health including factors such as socio-economic status and the environment".

We believe that by granting planning permission to KFC for their proposed site in Garston, Liverpool City Council would not be fulfilling their statutory duties; would be working against the aims set out by their own health strategy and that of Liverpool CCG and would not be following their own planning permission policies in relation to opening fast food outlets with 400 metres of secondary schools. 

Garston village is an area already plagued by litter and anti-social behaviour. There are real fears amongst residents that a fast food outlet will act as a draw for more gangs and increase the incidence of anti-social behaviour further. As previously mentioned there are already 12 food establishments in Garston offering take away food, cafe facilities and baked/ sweet goods. These outlets can and sometimes do generate substantial litter in an area well beyond their immediate vicinity. A drive thru fast food outlet will only exacerbate existing litter problems further adding to the run down appearance of Garston. It will also potentially jeopardise the existing businesses leading to yet more boarded up and empty shops along St Mary's and Speke Road. A drive thru restaurant will bring increased traffic, noise and both light and smell pollution to an already busy bypass and junction. This would pose a quality of life issue for those who reside in the immediate area- namely on Horrocks Avenue, Lowbridge Court and the additional proposed new flats on Speke Road on the site of the old baths. There is some evidence from studies around the country that the establishment of a fast food outlet by residential properties can reduce their value by up to 15%. In an area that has seen very little investment and a marked devaluation of existing properties (Lowbridge Court) a further drop in value would be financially crippling for some home owners.

Garston needs real investment. It needs support from the council to move a diverse range of small businesses into the existing empty shops. It needs a pull point to bring visitors and customers into the village. KFC does none of these things.

We respectfully ask that Liverpool City Council denies the planning permission for a fast food outlet in Garston Village and instead works with the local community to help us improve the area for the sake of our children and Garston's future.



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