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How Healthy Is Your High Street?

March 27, 2015
Public Health

A new survey by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has assessed 70 areas in the UK, scoring businesses on the extent to which they encouraged healthy choices, promoted social interaction, provided access to health advice and promoted positive mental wellbeing.

Researchers used the results to draw up a league table based on the number of ‘unhealthy’ and ‘healthy’ businesses found on the nation’s high streets. Preston in Lancashire fared worse, with its main street housing 25 fast food takeaways, 12 pay day loan shops and 11 bookmakers. Shrewsbury was judged to have the healthiest high street along with Ayr and Salisbury.

RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer, said “While our ranking of towns and cities is by no means a reflection on whether these areas are generally healthy or unhealthy, our research does find higher concentrations of unhealthy businesses exist in places which already experience high levels of deprivation and premature mortality. We recognise that businesses investing in high streets are important for local economies; but this shouldn’t be at any price. The Five Year Forward View calls for us to move ‘further and faster’ to improve the public’s health.”

The report has gained support from the Local Government Association (LGA) who are calling for MP’s to include a public health objective in licensing applications and the ability for councils to consider the cumulative impact of businesses such as betting shops, in the same locality.

You can download a copy of Health on the High Street HERE