The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has stalled contentious plans for a drive thru fast food restaurant in Skerries in north Dublin.
This follows the IHF lodging an appeal against the decision by Fingal County Council to give the go-ahead to Marbleside Ltd for the fast food outlet on lands at the Skerries Point shopping centre.
The IHF is opposing the proposed fast food restaurant on health grounds and point out that there are four national schools and one secondary school within walking distance of the planned outlet.
The IHF has told the appeals board that not only is the fast food outlet a producer and distributor of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS foods) that lead to increased calorific intake, it also had the associated purpose of creating branding and promotion of junk food.
The IHF contend that the planned new outlet “will increase the exposure of children, particularly impressionable children, to the sights and smells of HFSS foods that have been proven to be bad for their health”.
The IHF state that the health implications of the proposed development go far beyond the accessibility of children at their lunch breaks to the food on offer.
The foundation states that it does not believe that the applicant has effectively demonstrated how the proposed development will not have a negative impact on the school students of Skerries.
The IHF argue that the development of a new fast food outlet in close proximity to existing learning centres will propagate an obesogenic environment.
A staunch supporter of 'no-fry' zones, the IHF has requested an oral hearing into the case as it believes the appeal concerns significant national and local issues.
Policy Manager with the IHF, Kathryn Reilly confirmed today that the appeal is the first ever that the IHF has lodged with An Bord Pleanála against a planned fast food outlet in the vicinity of a school.
Fingal County Council gave the plan the go-ahead last month in spite of 154 objections and others to appeal the Council decision include the Board of Management of the Skerries Educate Together NS, the Skerries Community Residents Association, the Kelly’s Bay Residents Association and Louise O'Reilly TD (SF).
In granting permission, the Council stated that the zoning for the site allows for fast food outlets in principle and also pointed out that the students of the nearest school are not typically allowed to leave the school during lunch break.
On the proximity of the planned fast food outlet to a local Educate Together national school, consultants for Marbleside Ltd told the Council that students attending the school will not be permitted to leave the school premises during school hours.
The submission states that outside operating hours, the responsibility for access to the fast food restaurant “should fundamentally lie with parents and guardians”.
The consultants state that therefore, the proposed development will not present a risk to the public health of school students.
The consultants also contend that the proposal represents a positive and complimentary addition to the range of retail services currently being offered at Skerries Point shopping centre.
A decision is due on the case in August.