Aussie council's bold move to ban fast food outlets: 'Anti-social'

A Perth council is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to ban fast food outlets from being built and it’s serving up an uncertain future for existing takeaway shops.

Burger chains have already been forbidden in most of Nedlands, an affluent area in Perth’s west.

But now City of Nedlands council is making moves to outlaw all fast-food and takeaway outlets.

Close-Up Of Hand Holding Burger. Source: Getty Images
Burger chains have already been banned across most of Nedlands but now all fast-food outlets could be outlawed under proposed changes. Source: Getty Images

It’s a push that is widely supported among Nedlands residents, who have fought to keep chains like McDonalds and Hungry Jacks from the suburb.

Anti-social behaviour, obesity, noise, odour, traffic congestion, excessive signage and litter are among the reasons listed in submissions to proposed changes to the city’s planning scheme.

The amendment, which aims to re-classify fast food outlets as “non-permissible use within the Mixed-Use and Neighbourhood Centre zones”, will be voted on by councillors next week after a committee supported the change on Tuesday.

The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) will ultimately have the final say.

Cr Fergus Bennett told Perth Now fast food chains caused too many problems in the community.

“No one likes to hear about this but is a fact – the police circle Claremont Hungry Jacks because of anti-social, drug deals and crime that goes on there, that’s fact,” he said.

A street in Nedlands, Western Australia. Source: Facebook/City of Nedlands
Obesity, litter and anti-social behaviour are among the reasons locals want fast-food chains forbidden. Source: Facebook/City of Nedlands

Pizza and kebab shops face uncertain future

However, if successful, some fear what the new definition could mean for existing venues.

The city’s planning scheme defines fast food outlets as not only venues with a drive through, but also takeaway places without one, which means suburban staples such as pizza, fish and chips and kebab shops would be included.

Cr John Wetherall told Perth Now this was “not the way to go about” banning local fast food outlets.

“If you want to look after the ratepayers of City of Nedlands you’d be daft to vote for Amendment 16 because it doesn’t give you flexibility and it will be ruled out of order by the WAPC,” he said.

Takeout food in bio degradable boxes ready to be served. Source: Getty Images
There's fears other takeaway stores will be caught up in the changes. Source: Getty Images

The City’s administration has also slammed the proposed change, warning it would “unfairly impact upon future local takeaway food businesses within the city” and could have “unintended consequences” for existing establishments.

“If the fast food outlet land use becomes prohibited within the majority of the scheme area, future local takeaway food businesses would be unable to apply to operate.”

The City report also cites the scheme amendment would mean development approval would need to be sought for any alteration or extension of venues, impacting on “the potential for small businesses to flourish”.

Cr Olinka Combes said the plan needed “more detail” but she “absolutely” supports keeping out large fast food chains.

“Right now it will have a blanket ban on all forms of businesses considered takeaway classed under planning and I think it will be lot more problematic than we even envision,” she said to Perth Now.

City of Nedlands has been contacted for comment.

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