Taco Bell restaurant gets go ahead for Blackpool site
Plans for a Taco Bell drive-thru restaurant in Blackpool have been given the go ahead by the council.
The scheme will see the former Steals clothing store on Rigby Road, which was originally a car showroom, knocked down and the site redeveloped.
Town hall planners, who approved the application using delegated powers, considered the potential impact on health of allowing a fast food outlet to open in the area which has high levels of obesity.
The brand, which mainly operates in America, specialises in Mexican style fast food.
Bloomfield ward has one of the worst obesity rates in England, with 11.3 per cent of reception age pupils and nearly 25 per cent of year 6 pupils overweight.
Planning policies are due to come into force in Blackpool to ban new hot food takeaways in or within 400 metres of wards where there is more than 15 per cent of year six pupils or 10 per cent of reception pupils with obesity.
But planners ruled a fast food drive-thru would mean parents having more control over the food being ordered for children.
A report setting out the decision says: “The restaurant would likely be frequented by families where there would be greater control by parents over food choices for younger diners.
“The drive-thru would be regulated by the legal driving age of 17. Young children would be protected by the inherent character and location of the site and reduced access to ordering food themselves compared to adults.
“Therefore, it is considered that the takeaway element of the scheme would have a limited adverse impact on the aims and objectives of the council when managing childhood obesity and would not, in this instance, warrant refusal of the application.”
Developer the Adil Group already operates KFCs and Costa Coffee outlets in Blackpool.
In its application, it said it wanted “to reinvest, create employment and bring the first Taco Bell restaurant for Blackpool’s community to enjoy.”
The restaurant would hold up to 66 diners in total within the building, with 10 covers at ground floor and 56 at first floor.
Up to 55 new jobs would be created, including 25 part-time positions and 30 full-time positions, according to the planning statement.
Currently the nearest Taco Bell restaurants to the Fylde coast are in Manchester and Liverpool, while plans for a branch at the former DWP site at Norcross, off Norcross Lane, were recently scrapped after it emerged houses are set to be built on the land instead.
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