Rossendale Free Press

Health plan aiming to put brake on fast food outlets

- ROBERT MACDONALD freepressn­ @RossFreePr­ess

TAKEAWAYS could be restricted for residents living in Rossendale as the local council have proposed ideas for a major new health drive.

Better physical and mental health for Rossendale people through improved daily lifestyles and community support, including exercising in smaller venues and using volunteer groups which helped during the Covid pandemic, are among the suggestion­s.

And the new health plan could be accompanie­d by stronger controls on the number of fast food takeaways through the borough’s new Local Plan, councillor­s have been told.

Rossendale Borough Council wants to build the community’s health for the future. The valley has the lowest exercise and highest adult obesity rates in Lancashire,

records state. Physical activity, weight, diets, places to exercise, mental health and loneliness are among the key priorities.

Officers have drawn-up a Rossendale Health and Well-being Plan with local health and community representa­tives which puts local circumstan­ces and needs to the fore. The plan, if approved by the full council,

will be used at a wider Lancashire level too, so larger organisati­ons understand Rossendale’s issues more clearly.

The new Rossendale plan was discussed at this week’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting and will go to the full council for approval in December.

Speaking at the committee, Adam Allen, the borough’s director of community, said: “We have been working on this plan over the past 12 months with partner organisati­ons.

“We have consulted with various organisati­ons and doctors and put together a plan to 2030.

“We had about 50 or 60 community groups active during the covid pandemic which did fantastic work.

“They include food banks, family support and support for people suffering loneliness.

“We want to use that energy for the future. This is about understand­ing what people want, what they think is important and want to get involved with.

“Mental health is really important. Low-level interventi­ons can really help and make a big difference to people’s lives.

“Depression is higher in Lancashire and Rossendale than other parts of the country. There’s a real need for help.

“So mental well-being is one of the priorities in the Rossendale plan.

“Physical activity is also important and we are working with organisati­ons such as Active Futures and Sport England.

“This is not about elite sport and excellence. We are looking at why people don’t exercise and how we can get them to exercise.

“Our work has shown that people are very interested in healthy eating too.

“We have a 50 per cent higher propensity of takeaways in Lancashire and Rossendale than other parts of the UK.

“Rossendale has the lowest number of people in any Lancashire borough doing a minimum of 30 minutes exercise a week.

“We also have the thirdhighe­st level of adult obesity. So physical activity and healthy weight are priorities too.”

Regarding exercise facilities and buildings to support more healthy lives, Mr Allen said: “We have got some fantastic outdoor venues and spaces but our leisure centres are quite old, dating from around 1972.

“The three main ones are perhaps not really fit for purpose for the future. So facilities are among our priorities too.

“In future, there will be swimming, gyms and exercise spaces. But GPs like smaller spaces too, like the ABD community centre in Bacup,

“The focus is about getting everybody active and using venues where they feel comfortabl­e.

“Our final priority is about giving the people of Rossendale a voice. The primary care network and GPs have been really keen to be challenged about their work, and we want to ensure that patient feedback is being put into practice by GPs.”

Councillor­s on the commitee generally welcomed the plan.

Coun Granville Morris spoke about mental health, fast food and obesity among youngsters.

He said: “There has been a lot of news regarding young people shouting out for help. But have we got evidence of that in the plan?

“Have we spoken to schools and young people? It’s important to get into schools and keep going into schools.

“I see people going to McDonald’s for breakfast. We have got schools trying to make sure children don’t go hungry.

“I think we need a strategy for takeaways.”

Mr Allen replied: “We have done work as part of Rossendale Connected with schools and young people.

“Regarding takeaways and planning, I have spoken to our planning department.

“The Local Plan will go to borough council in December for approval and will have much stronger policies on takeaways. I accept it has taken a long time.”

 ?? ?? ●●Rossendale’s Local Plan could put a limit on the number of takeaways in the valley
●●Rossendale’s Local Plan could put a limit on the number of takeaways in the valley

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