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Norfolk sees drop in fast food outlets despite more opening

Norfolk has seen a drop in the amount of fast food outlets. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Norfolk has seen a drop in the amount of fast food outlets. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Despite more fast food outlets opening in Norfolk the amount, compared to restaurants and cafes, has decreased in the past eight years, according to figures released by the BBC Shared Data Unit.

McDonald's is a popular fast food restaurant. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA WireMcDonald's is a popular fast food restaurant. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The figures, received from Norfolk councils, found that in 2010 Norfolk had 1,005 food outlets, 445 of those being fast food (44pc).

With a population of just over 850,000 this means there were 52 fast food outlets for every 100,000 people in Norfolk.

In the last eight years a further 250 restaurants and cafes have opened compared to just 60 fast food. This means that Norfolk has seen a reduction in fast food outlets by 6%.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Many councils are challenged with striking the balance between a vibrant high street and a healthy one.

Domino's Pizza delivery bikes. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WireDomino's Pizza delivery bikes. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

“However, it’s difficult to make healthier choices when our neighbourhoods are saturated with takeaways, restaurants and cafes.

“Everyone has a role in tackling obesity. Councils can help address the growth of fast food outlets and we’re working with the food and drink industry to make everyday products healthier.”

The figures compare the amount of fast food outlets opening across the country and ranks them in terms of outlets to population.

Norfolk is ranked 131st with Westminster, London, coming top with 127 fast food outlets per 100,000 people.

Blackpool coming second with 97 and Glasgow third with 91.

Dr Thomas Burgoine, of The Centre for Diet and Activity Research at University of Cambridge, said: “Some local authorities have data showing fewer takeaways opening after they implemented planning restrictions.

“This could be viewed as ‘success’, in that the restrictions are working. But there have been no studies that link changes in the food environment driven by planning to change in the behaviours, diet or health of the local population.

“This would be the most powerful indicator of success, but is difficult to measure.”

Experts say a reason for this could be the popularity of coffee shops. Figures from the University of Hertfordshire show that since 1997 more than 20,000 new coffee shops have opened in the UK.

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