Disappointment at ‘wrecked’ motion

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One of Morpeth’s councillors and his Tory colleagues were disappointed after his motion tackling fast-food premises near schools was amended at last week’s county council budget meeting.

Ward member for Morpeth North, Coun David Bawn’s original motion read: ‘This council recognises the importance of a balanced and healthy diet to safeguard the health of local residents, especially children.

Coun David Bawn

Coun David Bawn

‘In light of the council’s statutory role in the promotion of good health, it should take all appropriate steps to safeguard health and promote a healthy diet.

‘In promotion of this aim, the location of fast-food outlets next to school premises should be discouraged, and this council resolves to make such changes to the planning priorities of the council as shall be required to prevent fast-food outlets being opened in close proximity to our schools.’

However, Labour’s Coun Susan Dungworth, cabinet member for adult care and public health, amended the motion so that it would come once the council’s core strategy is adopted and removing any specific mention to schools.

The amended motion was supported by Labour and Lib Dem councillors, with Lib Dem leader, Jeff Reid, saying that the amendment made it more meaningful and not just about scoring political points.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Bawn said: “The motion as amended is meaningless, merely an assertion that, at some future time, the council will look at formulating a policy about takeaways.

“All references to the council following advice of leading experts to prevent such establishments opening next to schools was removed.”