WORCESTERSHIRE has seen an increase in the number of fast food outlets over the last eight years, according to BBC research.

According to figures analysed by the BBC’s Shared Data Unit, the number of fast food eateries in the county council area of Worcestershire has risen from 235 out of a total of 570 food outlets in 2010 to 300 out of a total of 715 in 2018.

The figures show that not only has the percentage of takeaways in the area risen in the last eight years – the rate of fast food outlets has also increased from 42 per 100,000 people to 51 per 100,000 people; and that 42 per cent of all food outlets in the county council area are fast food retailers.

Frances Howie, director of public health for Worcestershire, said: "Worcestershire County Council recognises the detrimental effects of unhealthy food on health and wellbeing, particularly with regards to the obesity epidemic that is being experienced across the country.

"However, we also appreciate the role that new business and regeneration plays within our local economy.

"To help the development of healthy places, a new 'supplementary planning document for health' was adopted in 2017 in South Worcestershire which sets out a framework for healthy developments, putting the onus on developers to show how their proposed development will contribute to health and wellbeing.

"Public health contributes actively to healthy planning. A recent example highlighting the impact of planning for health and wellbeing was resisting the opening of a new KFC takeaway in Worcester in October 2018.

"Work is continuing across the whole county to ensure that planning for a healthy place is as robust as possible."